Tunisair was formed long time ago in 1948, in a partnership originally created by the Tunisian Government and French flag carrier Air France. On the earlier decades, the Northern African airline operated Douglas, Carevelles and Boeing, starting widebody operations in 1982 when it received its first A300B4 from the European manufacturer. Few months latter Tunisair would also lease a DC-10 from World Airways for a very short period and even a B747SR was sourced from Qatar Airways latter in 1997.
That first A300 (TS-IMA) marked a start of new era for Tunisair, one that is expected to end today, January 31st 2014. Since 1982 Tunisair operated a total of 7 A300 (4 x A300-600 and 3 x A300B4), but by the beginning of the new millennium only 4 were operated. With the retirement of TS-IMA in 2002, TS-IPA/B/C were the only widebodys Tunisair deployed on its route network. TS-IPA and TS-IPB came from Emirates in 2000 and TS-IPC from Sudan Airways one year latter. On this later stage, the A300 served on routes to Algeria, Libya, France and Switzerland.
The last flight was scheduled to be operating service TU418 from Benghazi to Tunis, the 2nd (and last) daily rotation of today operated by the A300.
As for me I’ve spotted same of them in Lisbon and also spotted the last 3 ones (that by that time were the entire widebody fleet of Tunisair) in Barajas airport, Madrid.
Even though Tunisair will stop widebody operations, this is a temporary situation. In 2008 an order was placed for the long awaited A350 but this was cancelled in May 2013, in favour of the 3 A330, that were part of the initial 2008 order (along with
A320). I’ve no idea where the A330 will be deployed but I’m sure it will deliver future growth to Tunisair and will enable it to expand, just like when they received their first A300, almost 34 years ago.