Canadian leisure carrier Air Transat used to be a fairly significant operator of the Airbus A310, representing an old-school way for avgeeks to cross the Atlantic. It no longer flies the design, and, with these aircraft dating back as far as the late-1980s, you might have thought that none are still active. However, one example continues to grace the skies today.
Air Transat’s A310s in a nutshell
Let’s start by establishing the nature of Air Transat’s historical Airbus A310 fleet. According to data from ch-aviation.com, the Montréal-based airline flew 14 of these twin-engine widebodies over the years, spanning from 2000 to 2020.
All 14 were examples of the A310-300 variant. While this version shares the same dimensions as the original A310-200, it offers operators a greater range (5,150 NM/9,540 km vs 3,500 NM/6,500 km) and a higher maximum takeoff weight/MTOW (164,000 kg vs 144,000 kg).
Simple Flying reported in 2019 that Air Transat originally planned to retire the A310 in April 2020. However, the onset of coronavirus prompted the airline to expedite this procedure. Its final A310 service was from Porto to Toronto on March 30th last year.
The remaining active example
While the 14 examples of the A310-300 that Air Transat flew are all rather old now, one remains active today. This plane began its life as D-AIDL, and joined German flag carrier Lufthansa in November 1990. It stayed with the airline for more than a decade, seeing in the new millennium at Germany’s national airline before leaving in August 2002.
Just under two years later, the aircraft ventured over to Canada to join Air Transat. It came onboard in April 2004, and bore the registration C-GTSD. During its spell, ATDB.aero reports that, in December 2005, C-GTSD wore a Santa-themed special livery. The plane had a fairly short tenure at Air Transat, and was actually the first A310-300 to leave its fleet.
It did so in December 2010, and its next destination was Armenia’s Vertir Airlines. However, it only flew for this carrier for five months, between December 2010 and April 2011. Since August 2013, it has been on the books at Iranian carrier Mahan Air.
Iran: an A310 hotspot
The aircraft remains active today with 164 economy and 24 business seats. RadarBox.com shows that the aircraft, now registered as EP-MNF, has seen extensive service this month. Its service has taken it from Tehran to destinations like Arbil, Baghdad, Delhi, Dubai, and Izmir.
As it happens, Iran is something of a hotspot for old and rare designs like the A310. The A300 also remains popular there, and the McDonnell Douglas MD-80 family provides 41% of the country’s domestic capacity, resulting in an unlikely avgeek’s paradise!
As far as the A310 is concerned, ch-aviation’s data shows that the country is home to eight of the 26 remaining active examples of the type left in the world. Of these, Mahan Air flies seven, with the eighth operated by Iran Airtours. Even if their days are likely numbered by this point, it is great to see these classic twinjets still in service in the Middle East.
Did you know that there was still an active ex-Air Transat A310? Perhaps you’ve even flown on it at some point during its 31 years of service?
S: Simple Flying
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