The Airbus A310 is a long haul jet which was first flown back in 1978.

It is a shorter version of the A300 itself the first twin engined wide body jet in the world and was designed to be able to carry around 200 passengers half way around the world.

Although production officially ceased in July 2007, the last plane was actually delivered back in 1998.

With a range of between 6,800km and 9,200km (Dubai to London is 5,500km), the A310 was heavily marketed to developing airlines as a more cost effective way to get into the transatlantic market and still remains popular amongst many of the smaller carriers.

The version that Yemenia operates, the A310-300, was first flown in 1985.

Although 255 of them were sold, the plane has long been superceded by the extremely successful Airbus A330.

In fact, it spent the latter part of its active life as a popular choice for freight companies, with Federal Express (68 aircraft) being the largest operator of the plane.

The plane has been involved in four previous fatal accidents in the past ten years, with the most serious being in January 2000 when a Kenya Airways flight crashed into the Atlantic Ocean shortly after taking off from Abidjan.

The undercarriage of a Biman Bangladesh Airlines A310 collapsed on the runway at Dubai International Airport in 2007, but thankfully only 14 people suffered minor injuries.