The Airbus A300 is a mid-size passenger jet. Developed in the 1970s, the A300 is a twin-engine, wide-body airliner that was among the first to use a twin-aisle configuration in the passenger cabin.
The first experimental flight of an A300 took place in October, 1972. Commercial airlines began using the jet in May, 1974.
The second stage of the A300, the A300-600, entered airline service nearly ten years later, in April, 1984.
Lee Dickinson, a former investigator with the National Transportation Safety Board in the U.S. told CBC News that the A300 as "very well maintained" and said the jet has a very good safety record.
In all, 506 A300s have been delivered to airlines around the world. American Airlines was operating 35 at the time of the November 12 crash.
The following is a list of events involving the Airbus A-300 and at least one fatality (from Airsafe.com).
- 27 June 1976; Air France A300; Entebbe, Uganda: Aircraft was hijacked and all aboard taken hostage. Some passengers were released shortly after the hijacking and the remainder were taken to Entebbe, Uganda. The remaining hostages were eventually rescued in a commando raid. About seven of the 258 passengers were killed.
- 3 July 1988; Iranair A300; Persian Gulf, near Straits of Hormuz: Aircraft was shot down by a surface to air missile from the American naval vessel U.S.S. Vincennes. All 16 crew and 274 passengers were killed.
- 28 September 1992; Pakistan International Airlines A300B4; near Katmandu, Nepal: The crew was flying the aircraft was flying an approach about 1600 feet (1000 meters) lower than planned when the aircraft collided with high ground. The event happened in daylight and with cloud shrouding the mountains. All 12 crew and 155 passengers were killed
- 26 April 1994; China Airlines A300-600; Nagoya, Japan: Crew errors led to the aircraft stalling and crashing during approach. All 15 crew and 249 of the 264 passengers were killed.
- 24 December 1994; Air France A300; Algiers Airport, Algeria: Hijackers killed 3 of the 267 passengers. Later, commandos retook the aircraft and killed four hijackers.
- 26 September 1997; Garuda Indonesian Airways A300B4; near Medan, Indonesia: The aircraft was on approach to Medan on a flight from Jakarta when it crashed in a mountainous area about 19 miles (30 km) from the airport. Extensive smoke and haze from numerous forest fires caused reduced visibility in the area. All 12 crew members and 222 passengers were killed.
- 16 February 1998; China Airlines A300-600; near Taipei, Taiwan: The aircraft crashed into a residential area short of the runway during its second landing attempt. The scheduled flight had been inbound from the island of Bali in Indonesia. The event occurred under conditions of darkness with rain and reduced visibility due to fog. All 15 crew and 182 passengers were killed. At least seven persons on the ground were also killed.
- 24 December 1999; Indian Airlines A300; near Katmandu, Nepal: The flight was hijacked shortly after takeoff. The hijackers killed one of the 173 passengers, but none of the 11 crew members.