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The A310 is a shorter version of the Airbus A300, designed for medium to long-range routes that do not demand the high capacities of the A330 or A340. With a full payload, an A310 can fly nonstop from Europe to India or North America, 1,000 miles farther than the A300.

When the A310 first flew in 1982, it became the first airliner that could be flown by just two crew members. Thanks to new "glass cockpit" technology that replaced analog gauges with CRT displays, a flight engineer was no longer needed to monitor the aircraft's vital signs.

The only external difference between the A300 and the A310 is that the latter is eight meters shorter, and also has a slightly different wing, with larger winglets to improve its stability. Otherwise, the two models are very similar. They share the same type rating, meaning that a trained pilot on one can learn to fly the other in just one day.

Lufthansa and Swissair were the original customers. Nowadays, FedEx, Singapore Airlines, Air-India, and Aeroflot are the biggest A310 operators. Many airlines in Africa and Asia use A310's for services to and from Europe, as well as for intra-regional routes.

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