As we saw in part 1 Alitalia had looked at the new Airbus widebody in the mid-1970s but settled on the tried and trusted Boeing 727-200 Advanced rather than the no doubt riskier, and certainly larger A300. However as more 727s were bought in 1978/79 the Airbus A300 got a second chance and secured an order for 8 frames with Alitalia also. This change of heart appears to have been caused by the need to begin replacement of Alitalia's DC-8-62 fleet. The range of the Airbus widebody was deemed perfect for Central African and Persian Gulf routes whilst its capacity made it ideal for European trunk routes like those to Heathrow. Indeed the A300 had the last laugh over the 727. Along with the MD-80s it was to be the A300 that would provide the backbone of the airline's medium haul fleet for the next twenty years and not the trijet.
I-BUSP, the aircraft depicted by the model above, had first flown as F-WZEP in October 1978 and became N207EA with Eastern in December. In Italian service she was named 'Masaccio' after a great Italian painter from the Renaissance. Indeed several of the fleet took up the names of painters - I-BUSC for example was 'Botticelli and I-BUSQ was 'Michaelangelo'. The ex-Eastern A300s saw about a decade of service in Italy and were all retired from 1997-98 along with the original aircraft. They were replaced in service with a mixture of Airbus A321s and Boeing 767-300s.
Dienel, H & Lyth, P. Flying the Flag: European Commercial Air Transport since 1945
Sweetman, B. 1976, December. Alitalia climbs out with crossed fingers. Flight International
RZjets.net - Alitalia A300s
I'm Richard Stretton: a fan of classic airliners and airlines who enjoys exploring their history through my collection of die-cast airliners. If you enjoy the site please donate whatever you can to help keep it running: