Airbus A320 family consists of short- to medium-range,
narrow-body, commercial passenger twin-engine jet airliners
manufactured by Airbus. The family includes the A318, A319, A320 and
A321, as well as the ACJ business jet. The A320s are also named
A320ceo (current engine option) after the introduction of the A320neo
(new engine option). Final assembly of the family takes place in
Toulouse, France, and Hamburg, Germany. A plant in Tianjin, China, has
also been producing aircraft for Chinese airlines since 2009, while
a final assembly facility in Mobile, Alabama, United States, delivered
its first A321 in April 2016. The aircraft family can accommodate
up to 236 passengers and has a range of 3,100 to 12,000 km (1,700
to 6,500 nmi), depending on model.
The first member of the A320 family—the A320—was launched in March
1984, first flew on 22 February 1987, and was first delivered in March
1988 to launch customer Air France. The family was extended to
include the A321 (first delivered 1994), the A319 (1996), and the A318
(2003). The A320 family pioneered the use of digital fly-by-wire
flight control systems, as well as side-stick controls, in commercial
aircraft. There has been a continuous improvement process since
As of 28 February 2018, a total of 8,029
Airbus A320-family aircraft
have been delivered, of which 7,679 are in service. In addition,
another 6,126 airliners are on firm order. It ranked as the world's
fastest-selling jet airliner family according to records from 2005 to
2007, and as the best-selling single-generation aircraft programme.
The A320 family has proved popular with airlines including low-cost
carriers such as EasyJet, which purchased A319s and A320s to replace
its 737 fleet. As of December 2017,
American Airlines was the largest
operator of the
Airbus A320 family aircraft, operating 392
aircraft.[b] The aircraft family competes directly with the 737 and
has competed with the 717, 757, and the MD-80/MD-90.
In December 2010,
Airbus announced a new generation of the A320
family, the A320neo (new engine option). The A320neo offers new,
more efficient engines, combined with airframe improvements and the
addition of winglets, named Sharklets by Airbus. The aircraft will
deliver fuel savings of up to 15%. As of February 2018, a total of
6,025 A320neo family aircraft had been ordered by more than 70
airlines, making it the fastest ever selling commercial
aircraft. The first A320neo was delivered to
Lufthansa on 20
January 2016 and it entered service on 25 January 2016.
1.2 Design effort
Fly-by-wire flight control system
1.3 Production and introduction
1.4 Stretching the A320: A321
1.5 Shrinking the A320: A319
1.6 Second shrink: A318
1.7 A320 Enhanced family
1.8 New Engine Option: A320neo
2.2 Flight deck and avionics
3 Operational history
3.2 Replacement airliner
6 Orders and deliveries
7 Accidents and incidents
9 See also
12 External links
Airbus designed the
Airbus A300 during the late 1960s and early
1970s, it envisaged a broad family of airliners with which to compete
Boeing and Douglas, two established US aerospace
manufacturers. From the moment of formation,
Airbus had begun studies
into derivatives of the
Airbus A300B in support of this long-term
goal. Prior to the service introduction of the first Airbus
airliners, engineers within
Airbus had identified nine possible
variations of the A300 known as A300B1 to B9. A 10th variation,
conceived in 1973, later the first to be constructed, was designated
the A300B10. It was a smaller aircraft which would be developed
into the long-range
Airbus then focused its efforts on
the single-aisle market, which was dominated by the 737 and McDonnell
Air Inter A320-100 in 1991, one of the few A320-100s
Plans from a number of European aircraft manufacturers called for a
successor to the relatively successful BAC One-Eleven, and to replace
the 737–200 and DC-9. Germany's MBB
(Messerschmitt-Bölkow-Blohm), British Aircraft Corporation, Sweden's
Saab and Spain's CASA worked on the EUROPLANE, a 180- to 200-seat
aircraft. It was abandoned after intruding on A310
specifications. VFW-Fokker, Dornier and
Hawker Siddeley worked on
a number of 150-seat designs.
Alongside BAe (which at the time was not part of Airbus) were MBB,
Fokker-VFW and Aérospatiale. The design within the JET study that was
carried forward was the JET2 (163 passengers), which then became the
Airbus S.A1/2/3 series (Single Aisle), before settling on the A320
name for its launch in 1984. Previously,
Hawker Siddeley had produced
a design called the HS.134 "Airbus" in 1965, an evolution of the
HS.121 (formerly DH.121) Trident, which shared much of the general
arrangement of the later JET3 study design. The name "Airbus" at the
time referred to a BEA requirement, rather than to the later
A new programme was initiated subsequently, called Joint European
Transport (JET). This was set up in June 1977, and was based at
British Aerospace (formerly Vickers) site in Weybridge,
Surrey, UK. Although the members were all of Airbus' partners, they
regarded the project as a separate collaboration from Airbus. This
project was considered the forerunner of
Airbus A320, encompassing the
130- to 188-seat market, powered by two CFM56s. It would have a
cruise speed of Mach 0.84 (faster than
Boeing 737). The programme
was later transferred to Airbus, leading up to the creation of the
Single-Aisle (SA) studies in 1980, led by former leader of JET
programme, Derek Brown. The group looked at three different
variants, covering the 125- to 180-seat market, called SA1, SA2 and
SA3. Although unaware at the time, the consortium was producing
the blueprints for the A319, A320 and A321, respectively. The
single-aisle programme created divisions within
Airbus about whether
to design a shorter-range twinjet than a longer-range quadjet wanted
by the West Germans, particularly Lufthansa. However, works
proceeded, and the German carrier would eventually order the twinjet.
In February 1981, the project was re-designated A320, with efforts
focused on the former SA2. During the year,
Airbus worked with Delta
Air Lines on a 150-seat aircraft envisioned and required by the
airline. The A320 would carry 150 passengers 1,860 nautical miles
(3,440 km) using fuel from wing fuel tanks only. The Dash 200
had more fuel through the activation of centre fuel tank, increasing
fuel capacity from 15,590 litres (3,429 imp gal) to
23,430 L (5,154 imp gal), enabling flights with a
distance of 2,850 nmi (5,280 km). The aircraft would
measure 36.04 m (118 ft 3 in) and 39.24 m
(128 ft 9 in), respectively.
Airbus then had to decide
on a cross-section for the A320. It considered a fuselage diameter of
Boeing 707 and 727, or do something better". It eventually
settled on a wider diameter, with the internal width at 3.7 m
(12 ft 2 in), compared to 3.45 m (11.3 ft;
136 in) of the
Boeing aircraft. Although heavier, this
specification allowed the aircraft to compete more effectively with
the 737. The A320 wing went through several stages of design, finally
settling on 33.91 m (111 ft 3 in). It is long and
thin, offering better aerodynamic efficiency because of the higher
aspect ratio than the competition, namely the 737 and MD-80.
After the oil price rises of the 1970s,
Airbus needed to minimise the
trip fuel costs of the A320. To that end, it adopted composite primary
structures, centre-of-gravity control using fuel, glass cockpit (EFIS)
and a two-crew flight deck. The end result was that the A320 consumed
50% less fuel than the 727. According to a study
cited by the Stockholm Environmental Institute, the A320 burns 11,608
kilograms (25,591 lb) of jet fuel flying between Los Angeles and
New York City, which is about 77.4 kilograms (170.6 lb) per
passenger in an A320 with 150 seats.
Fly-by-wire flight control system
The A320 family cockpit commonality enables pilots to quickly
transition among Airbuses.
The A320 is the world’s first airliner with digital fly-by-wire
(FBW) flight control system: input commands through the side-stick are
interpreted by flight control computers and transmitted to flight
control surfaces within the flight envelope protection; in the 1980s
the computer-controlled dynamic system of the Dassault Mirage 2000
fighter cross-fertilised the
Airbus team which tested FBW on an
The A320 retained the dark cockpit (where an indicator is off when its
system is running; useful for drawing attention to dysfunctions when
an indicator is lit) from the A310, the first widebody designed to be
operated without a flight engineer and influenced by Bernard Ziegler,
Airbus CEO Henri Ziegler's son. All following Airbuses have
similar human/machine interface and systems control philosophy to
facilitate cross-type qualification with minimal training; for Roger
Airbus president, this choice was one of the most
difficult he had ever made.
During the A320 development programme,
Airbus considered propfan
technology, backed by Lufthansa. At the time unproven, it was
essentially a fan placed outside the engine nacelle, offering speed of
a turbofan at turboprops economics; eventually,
Airbus stuck with
Power on the A320 would be supplied by two CFM56-5-A1s rated at
25,000 lbf (112.5 kN). It was the only available engine
at launch until the IAE V2500, offered by International Aero Engines,
a group composed of Rolls-Royce, Pratt & Whitney, Japanese Aero
MTU Aero Engines
MTU Aero Engines (MTU). The first V2500
variant, the V2500-A1, has a thrust output of 25,000 pounds-force
(110 kN), hence the name. It is 4% more efficient than the
CFM56, with cruise thrust specific fuel consumption at
0.574 lb/lbf/h (16.3 g/kN/s) for the -A5, compared to
0.596 lb/lbf/h (16.9 g/kN/s) for the CFM56-5A1.
Production and introduction
A320 parts are manufactured throughout Europe, like the horizontal
stabilizer in Spain.
Large parts are shipped aboard the
France and West
Germany wanted the responsibility of final
assembly and the associated duties, known as "work-share
arguments". The Germans requested an increased work-share of 40%,
while the British wanted the major responsibilities to be swapped
around to give partners production and research and development
experience. In the end, British work-share was increased from that
of the two previous Airbuses.
France was willing to commit to a launch aid, or subsidies, while the
Germans were more cautious. The UK government was unwilling to
provide funding for the tooling requested by
British Aerospace (BAe)
and estimated at ₤250 million, it was postponed for three
years. On 1 March 1984 the government and the manufacturer agreed
that ₤50 million would be paid whether the A320 would fly or
not, while the rest would be paid as a levy on each aircraft sold.
The programme was launched on 2 March 1984. At this time, Airbus
had 96 orders.:48
Air France was its first customer with a "letter
of intent" for 25 A320s and an option for 25 more at the 1981 Paris
air show. In October 1983,
British Caledonian placed seven firm
order, bringing total orders to more than 80. Cyprus Airways
became the first to place order for V2500-powered A320s in November
1984, followed by Pan Am with 16 firm orders and 34 options in January
1985, then Inex Adria.:49 One of the most significant order was
Northwest Airlines placed an order for 100 A320s in October 1986,
later confirmed at the 1990 Farnborough Airshow, powered by CFM56
In presence of then French Prime Minister
Jacques Chirac and the
Prince and Princess of Wales, the first A320 was rolled out of the
final assembly line on 14 February 1987 and made its maiden flight on
22 February in 3 hours and 23 minutes from Toulouse. The flight
test programme took 1,200 hours on 530 flights, European Joint
Aviation Authorities certification was delivered on 26 February
1988.:50 The first A320 was delivered to
Air France on 28 March
On 26 June 1988,
Air France Flight 296 crashed into trees at the end
of runway at Mulhouse-Habsheim Airport, three out of 130 passengers
were killed. In February 1990 another A320,
Indian Airlines Flight
605, crash landed short of the airport runway in Bangalore, the
ensuing fire contributed to the casualty count of ninety-two, out of
146 on board. The press and media later questioned the fly-by-wire
flight control system but subsequent investigations by commission of
inquiry found "no malfunction of the aircraft or its equipment which
could have contributed towards a reduction in safety or an increase in
the crew's workload during the final flight phase ... the
response of the engines was normal and in compliance with
Airbus A321 on final assembly line 3 in the
Airbus plant in Hamburg
Toulouse Blagnac final assembly line builds A320s, whereas the
Hamburg Finkenwerder final assembly line builds A318s, A319s, and
Airbus factory in Tianjin,
China assembles A319s, A320s,
and A321s; A320s and A321s are also assembled at the
factory in Mobile, Alabama.
Airbus produced 42 A320 per month in
2015, and expects to increase to 50 per month in 2017.
Airbus targets a 60 monthly global production rate by mid-2019, the
Tianjin line delivered 51 in 2016 and it could assemble six per month
from four as it starts producing A320neos in 2017; 147
delivered in 2016 in China, 20% of its production, mostly A320-family,
a 47% market share as the country should become the world’s largest
market ahead of the USA before 2027.
Stretching the A320: A321
Airbus A321 – Development
Airbus A32X family
The first derivative of the A320 was the
Airbus A321, also known as
the Stretched A320, A320-500 and A325. Its launch came on 24
November 1988 after commitments for 183 aircraft from 10 customers
were secured. The aircraft would be a minimum-changed
derivative, apart from a number of minor modifications to the wing,
and the fuselage stretch itself. The wing would incorporate
double-slotted flaps and minor trailing edge modifications,
increasing the wing area from 124 m2 (1,330 sq ft) to
128 m2 (1,380 sq ft). The fuselage was lengthened
by four plugs (two ahead and two behind the wings), giving the A321 an
overall length of 6.94 metres (22 ft 9 in) longer than the
A320. The length increase required the overwing exits of
the A320 to be enlarged and repositioned in front of and behind the
wings. The centre fuselage and undercarriage were reinforced to
accommodate the increase in maximum takeoff weight of 9,600 kg
(21,200 lb), taking it to 83,000 kg (183,000 lb).
Alitalia was the second to receive the stretched A321, after
Final assembly for the A321 would be, as a first for any Airbus,
carried out in
Germany (then West Germany). This came after a
dispute between the French, who claimed the move would incur
$150 million (€135 million) in unnecessary expenditure
associated with the new plant, and the Germans, arguing it would
be more productive for
Airbus in the long run. The second production
line was located at Hamburg, which would also subsequently produce the
Airbus A319 and A318. For the first time,
Airbus entered the
bond market, through which it raised $480 million (€475
million) to finance development costs. An additional
$180 million (€175 million) was borrowed from European
Investment Bank and private investors.
The maiden flight of the
Airbus A321 came on 11 March 1993, when the
prototype, registration F-WWIA, flew with
IAE V2500 engines; the
second prototype, equipped with CFM56-5B turbofans, flew in May.
Alitalia were the first to order the stretched Airbuses,
with 20 and 40 aircraft requested, respectively. The first of
Lufthansa's V2500-A5-powered A321s arrived on 27 January 1994, while
Alitalia received its first CFM56-5B-powered aircraft on 22 March.
Shrinking the A320: A319
Airbus A319 – Development
The A319 is the next derivative of the baseline A320. The design is a
"shrink" with its origins in the 130- to 140-seat SA1, part of the
Single-Aisle studies. The SA1 was shelved as the consortium
concentrated on its bigger siblings. After healthy sales of the
Airbus re-focused on what was then known as the A320M-7,
meaning A320 minus seven fuselage frames. It would provide direct
competition for the 737–300/-700. The shrink was achieved
through the removal of four fuselage frames fore and three aft of the
wing, cutting the overall length by 3.73 metres (12 ft
3 in). Consequently, the number of overwing exits was
reduced from four to two. The bulk-cargo door was replaced by an aft
container door, which can take in reduced height LD3-45
containers. Minor software changes were made to accommodate the
different handling characteristics; otherwise the aircraft is largely
unchanged. Power is provided by the CFM56-5A or V2500-A5, derated to
98 kN (22,000 lbf), with option for 105 kN
(24,000 lbf) thrust.
US Airways A319 in
America West heritage livery. The A319's wingspan
is longer than the aircraft's overall length.
Airbus began offering the new model from 22 May 1992, with the actual
launch of the $275 million (€250 million) programme occurring
on 10 June 1993; the A319's first customer was ILFC, who
signed for six aircraft. On 23 March 1995, the first A319 underwent
final assembly at Airbus' German plant in Hamburg, where the A321s are
also assembled. It was rolled out on 24 August 1995, with the maiden
flight the following day. The certification programme would take
350 airborne hours involving two aircraft; certification for the
CFM56-5B6/2-equipped variant was granted in April 1996, after which
qualification for the V2524-A5 started the following month.
Delivery of the first A319, to Swissair, took place on 25 April 1996,
entering service by month's end. In January 1997, an A319 broke a
record during a delivery flight by flying 3,588 nautical miles
(6,645 km) the great circle route to Winnipeg, Manitoba from
Hamburg, in 9 hours 5 minutes. The A319 has proved popular with
low-cost airlines such as EasyJet, who has orders for 172, with 172
Second shrink: A318
Airbus A318 – Development
The A318 was born out of mid-1990 studies between Aviation Industries
China (AVIC), Singapore Technologies Aerospace, Alenia and Airbus
on a 95- to 125-seat aircraft project. The programme was called the
AE31X, and covered the 95-seat AE316 and 115- to 125-seat AE317.
The former would have had an overall length of 31.3 m
(102 ft 8 in), while the AE317 was longer by 3.2 m
(10 ft 6 in), at 34.5 m (113 ft 2 in).
The engines were to be supplied from two Rolls-Royce BR715s, CFM56-9s,
or the Pratt & Whitney PW6000s; with the MTOW of
53.3 t (118,000 lb) for the smaller version and 58 t
(128,000 lb) for the AE317, the thrust requirement were
77.9–84.6 kN (17,500–19,000 lbf) and 84.6–91.2 kN
(19,000–20,500 lbf), respectively. Range was settled at
5,200 km (2,800 nmi) and 5,800 km (3,100 nmi) for
the high gross weights of both variants. Both share a wingspan of
31.0 m (101 ft 8 in) and a flight deck similar to
that of the A320 family. Costing $2 billion (€1.85 billion) to
develop, aircraft production to take place in China.
British Airways A318 at London City Airport
Airbus was developing
Airbus A318. In early 1998,
Airbus revealed its considerations of designing a 100-seat aircraft
based on the A320. The AE31X project was terminated by September 1998,
Airbus officially announced an aircraft of its own, the
A318, at that year's Farnborough Airshow. The aircraft is the
smallest product of Airbus's product range, and was developed
coincidentally at the same time as the largest commercial aircraft in
Airbus A380. First called A319M5 in as early as March
1995, it was shorter by 0.79-metre (2 ft 7 in) ahead of the
wing and 1.6 metres (5 ft 3 in) behind. These cuts
reduced passenger capacity from 124 on the A319 to 107 passengers in a
two-class layout. Range was 5,700 kilometres (3,100 nmi), or
5,950 kilometres (3,210 nmi) with upcoming Sharklets.
The 107-seater was launched on 26 April 1999 with the options and
orders count at 109 aircraft. After three years of design, the
maiden flight took place at
Hamburg on 15 January 2002. Tests on
the lead engine, the Pratt & Whitney PW6000, revealed
worse-than-expected fuel consumption. Consequently, Pratt &
Whitney abandoned the five-stage high pressure compressor (HPC) for
the MTU-designed six-stage HPC. The 129 order book for the A318 shrunk
to 80 largely because of switches to other A320 family members.
After 17 months of flight certification, during which 850 hours and
350 flights were accumulated, JAA certification was obtained for the
CFM56-powered variant on 23 May 2003. On 22 July 2003, first
delivery for launch customer
Frontier Airlines occurred, entering
service before the end of the month.
A320 Enhanced family
Air New Zealand
Air New Zealand
Airbus A320 Enhanced (A320E) with Sharklets
A320 Enhanced family (or A320E family) is the working title for a
series of improvements to the A320 family. The improvements include
engine improvements, aerodynamic refinements – such as adding
large curved winglets (Sharklets), weight savings, and a new cabin
Airbus tested three styles of winglet intended to counteract
the wing's induced drag and wingtip vortices more effectively than the
previous wingtip fence. The first design type to be tested was
Airbus and was based on work done by the AWIATOR
programme. The second type of winglet incorporated a more blended
design and was designed by
Winglet Technology, a company based in
Wichita, Kansas. Two aircraft were used in the flight test evaluation
campaign – the prototype A320, which had been retained by
Airbus for testing, and a new build aircraft which was fitted with
both types of winglets before it was delivered to JetBlue.
Despite the anticipated efficiency gains and development work, Airbus
announced that the new winglets will not be offered to customers,
claiming that the weight of the modifications required would negate
any aerodynamic benefits. Instead, on 17 December 2008, Airbus
announced it was to begin flight testing an existing blended winglet
design developed by
Aviation Partners Inc.
Aviation Partners Inc. as part of an A320
modernisation programme using the A320 prototype.
Airbus A320 Enhanced economy class Cabin with LED
On 15 November 2009,
Airbus announced future additions of
Sharklets to A320s beginning in 2012 with Air New Zealand.
Airbus winglets, which are 2.4 metres (7 ft 10 in)
tall and weigh 200 kilograms (440 lb), would reduce fuel burn
by 4% and offer increases in payload of 500 kg (1,100 lb),
or range by 110 nmi (204 km) at the original payload.
This corresponds to an annual CO2 reduction of around 700 t (690
long tons) per aircraft, saving operators US$220,000 per aircraft
per year. The Sharklets are to be manufactured and distributed by
Korean Air Aerospace Division.
Airbus introduced a new enhanced comfort cabin for the A320.
Airbus says it offers better luggage storage and a quieter cabin,
packaged with a more modern look and feel. Additionally, improved
cabin efficiency from a new galley concept, reduced weight, improved
ergonomics and food hygiene, and recycling requirements. LED
ambiance lighting is optionally available. Anytime LEDs are used for
the Passenger Service Unit (PSU) and passengers can get
information with touchscreen displays. Older A320 series aircraft
can be updated.
New Engine Option: A320neo
Airbus A320neo family
Airbus developed a new version of the A320, called A320neo, for new
engine option, based on more efficient engines, at least partly in
response to the threat posed by Bombardier Aerospace's development of
the CSeries airliner, with which Bombardier hoped to compete directly
Airbus for the first time. The choice for new
engines include the
CFM International LEAP-1A and the Pratt &
Whitney PW1100G. Though the new engines will burn 16% less fuel,
the actual fuel gain on an A320 installation will be slightly less,
since 1–2% is typically lost upon installation on an existing
aircraft. This means an additional range of 950 km
(510 nmi), or 2 t (4,400 lb) of extra payload. The
A320neo will also include some modifications to the wing, mainly the
installation of blended winglets called "Sharklets".
Airbus A320neo in 2014
Airbus' CEO said to be "comfortable" with the projections of 20% lower
maintenance cost for the Pratt & Whitney's PW1000G family,
compared with engines powering the A320. In 2011,
early 2016 for the first delivery and planned to deliver 4,000 A320neo
over 15 years.
Virgin America became the launch customer with a firm
order of 30 A320neo aircraft as a part of a 60 aircraft order on 17
January 2011. In January 2011
IndiGo reached a tentative agreement
Airbus to order 150 A320neo aircraft along with 30 more
At the 2011 Paris Air Show,
Airbus announced that 667 firm orders were
placed. A major order came from Indian low-cost carrier
150 aircraft, and Malaysian low-cost carrier
AirAsia for 200
A320neo, the largest commercial aviation order at the time. In
total the A320neo commitments made at the
Paris Air Show
Paris Air Show were worth
American Airlines placed an order for 130 A320neo
airliners on 20 July 2011. By the end of 2011,
Airbus had received
1,196 firm orders for the A320neo family making it the fastest selling
commercial aircraft in history. On 15 March 2013, it was reported
that Turkish Airlines had placed a firm order for 82 A320 aircraft
with 35 options; the firm order has 25 A321, four A320neo, and 53
An Iberia A320 after takeoff with gears retracted and flaps extended
Airbus A320 family are narrow-body (single-aisle) aircraft with a
retractable tricycle landing gear and are powered by two wing
pylon-mounted turbofan engines. The
Airbus A320 family is the only
narrow-body aircraft from Airbus.
A319 left wing with spoilers deployed during landing.
Airbus A320 family are low-wing cantilever monoplanes with a
conventional empennage with a single vertical stabilizer and rudder.
Its wing sweep is 25 degrees. Compared to other airliners of the same
class, the A320 features a wider single-aisle cabin of 3.95 metres
(156 in) outside diameter, compared to 3.8 m
(148 in) of the
Boeing 737 or 757, and larger overhead bins. Its
cargo hold can accommodate Unit Load Devices containers.
The A320 airframe includes composite materials and aluminium alloys to
save weight and reduce the total number of parts to decrease the
maintenance costs. Its tail assembly is made almost entirely of
such composites by CASA, who also builds the elevators, main landing
gear doors, and rear fuselage parts.
Flight deck and avionics
Airbus A320 family was the first commercial airliner to feature a
full glass cockpit and digital fly-by-wire flight control system. The
only analogue instruments were the RMI and brake pressure indicator.
The A320 was the first civil airliner to include a full digital
fly-by-wire flight control system. At the time of the aircraft's
introduction, the behaviour of the fly-by-wire system equipped with
full flight envelope protection was a new experience for many pilots.
Early A320s used the
Intel 80186 and Motorola 68010. In 1988, the
flight management computer contained six
Intel 80286 CPUs, running in
three logical pairs, with 2.5 megabytes of memory.
Its design also included a full glass cockpit rather than the hybrid
versions found in previous airliners. The A320's flight deck is
Electronic Flight Instrument System
Electronic Flight Instrument System (EFIS) with
side-stick controllers. The A320 features an Electronic Centralised
Aircraft Monitor (ECAM) which gives the flight crew information about
all the systems of the aircraft.
From 2003, A320's feature liquid crystal display (LCD) units in the
flight deck of its A318, A319, A320, and A321 flight decks instead of
the original cathode ray tube (CRT) displays. These include the main
displays and the backup artificial horizon, which was an analog
display prior to this.
Airbus offers an avionics upgrade for older A320, the In-Service
Enhancement Package, to keep them updated. Digital head-up
displays are available.
The suppliers provide turbofan engines for the A320 series are CFM
International with the CFM56,
International Aero Engines offering its
V2500, and Pratt & Whitney's PW6000 engines available only for the
A Spirit A320 being refueled and loaded with luggage
Joint Aviation Authorities (JAA) issued the type certificate for
the A320 on 26 February 1988. After entering the market in March 1988
Air France and Ansett Australia,
Airbus then expanded the A320
family rapidly, launching the 185-seat A321 in 1989 and first
delivered it in 1994; launching the 124-seat A319 in 1993 and
delivering it in 1996; and launching the 107-seat A318 in 1999 with
first deliveries in 2003.
The A320 family was developed to compete with the 737 Classics
(-300/-400/-500) and the McDonnell Douglas MD-80/90 series, and has
since faced challenges from the
Boeing 737 Next Generation
(-600/-700/-800/-900) and the 717 during its two decades in service.
As of 2010, as well as the 737, the A320 family faces competition from
Embraer's E-195 (to the A318), and the CSeries being developed by
Bombardier to the A318/A319.
Airbus has delivered 7,979 A320 series aircraft since their
certification/first delivery in early 1988, with another 6,099 on firm
order (as of 31 December 2017). In comparison,
Boeing has shipped
9,864 737s since late 1967, with 8,358 of those deliveries since March
1988, and has a further 4,668 on firm order (as of 31 December
Airbus A320 family deliveries, List of
family orders and deliveries
Boeing 737 series deliveries
Airbus was studying a future replacement for the A320 series,
tentatively dubbed NSR, for "New Short-Range aircraft". The
follow-on aircraft to replace the A320 was named A3XX.
America President Barry Eccleston states that the earliest the
aircraft could be available is 2017. In January 2010, John Leahy,
Airbus's chief operating officer-customers, stated that an all-new
single-aisle aircraft is unlikely to be constructed before
Airbus A320neo or New Engine Option variants, see Airbus
A320neo family § Variants.
Airbus A320 variants
The baseline A320 has given rise to a family of aircraft which share a
common design but with passenger capacity ranges from 100, on the
A318, to 220, on the A321. They compete with the 737, 757, and
717. Because the four variants share the same flight deck, all have
the same pilot type rating. Today all variants are available as
corporate jets. An A319 variant known as A319LR is also developed.
Military version like A319 MPA also exists.
American Airlines is the
world's largest airline operator of the A320 family of aircraft with
392 aircraft in service as of 30 September 2017.
Technically, the name "A320" only refers to the original mid-sized
aircraft, but it is often informally used to indicate any of the
A318/A319/A320/A321 family. All variants are able to be ETOPS
(Extended-range Twin-engine Operational Performance Standards)
certified for 180 minutes since 2004 (EASA) and 2006 (FAA). With
launch of the new
Airbus A320neo project, the previous members of the
Airbus A320 family received the "current engine option" or "CEO" name.
Air France was the launch customer of the
The A320 series has two variants, the A320-100 and A320-200. Only 21
A320-100s were produced. These aircraft, the first to be
manufactured, were delivered to
Air Inter - later acquired by Air
France - and
British Airways as a result of an order from British
Caledonian made prior to its acquisition.
The primary changes of the -200 over the -100 are wingtip fences and
increased fuel capacity for increased range.
Indian Airlines used its
first 31 A320-200s with double-bogie main landing gear for airfields
with poor runway condition which a single-bogie main gear could not
Powered by two
CFM International CFM56-5s or IAE V2500s with thrust
ratings of 98–120 kN (22,000–27,000 lbf), its typical
range with 150 passengers is 3,300 nmi / 6,100 km. A total of
4,512 of the A320ceo model have been delivered, with 220 remaining on
order as of 30 September 2017. The closest
Boeing competitor is the
As the A320 began operations in 1988, the A321 was launched as its
first derivative. The A321 fuselage is stretched by 6.93 metres
(22 ft 9 in) with a 4.27 m (14 ft 0 in) front
plug immediately forward of wing and a 2.67 m (8 ft
9 in) rear plug. The A321-100 maximum takeoff weight is
increased by 9,600 kg (21,200 lb) to 83,000 kg
(183,000 lb). To maintain performance, double-slotted flaps
were included, in addition to increasing the wing area by 4 m2
(43 sq ft), to 128 m2 (1,380 sq ft). The
maiden flight of the first of two prototypes came on 11 March
1993. The A321-100 entered service in January 1994 with Lufthansa.
As the A321-100 range was reduced compared to the A320, the heavier
and longer range A321-200 development was launched in 1995. This is
achieved through higher thrust engines (V2533-A5 or CFM56-5B3), minor
structural strengthening, and an increase in fuel capacity with the
installation of one or two optional 2,990 L
(790 US gal) tanks in the rear underfloor hold. Its
fuel capacity is increased to 30,030 L (7,930 US gal)
and its maximum takeoff weight to 93,000 kg (205,000 lb). It
first flew in December 1996 and entered service with Monarch Airlines
in April 1997.
Boeing competitors are the 737-900/900ER, and the
757–200. A total of 1,562 of the A321ceo model have been
delivered, with 231 remaining on order as of 30 September 2017.
The A319 is a shortened, minimum-change version of the A320. Also
known as the A320M-7, it is 3.73 metres (12 ft 3 in) shorter
than the A320; four frames fore of the wing and three
frames aft of the wing were removed. The reduced seating reduces the
emergency exits to six. With virtually the same fuel capacity as the
A320-200, and fewer passengers, the range with 124 passengers in a
two-class configuration extends to 6,650 km (3,590 nmi), or
6,850 km (3,700 nmi) with the "Sharklets". Four
propulsion options available on the A319 are the 23,040-pound-force
(102.5 kN) V2522-A5 and 24,800-pound-force (110 kN)
V2527M-A5 from IAE, or the 22,000-pound-force (98 kN) CFM56-5B/A
and 27,000-pound-force (120 kN) CFM56-5B7. Although identical
to those of the A320, these engines are derated because of the A319's
The A319 was developed at the request of Steven Udvar-Hazy, the former
president and CEO of
ILFC according to The New York Times. The
A319's launch customer, in fact, was ILFC, which had placed an order
for six A319s by 1993. Anticipating further orders by
Airbus decided to launch the programme on 10 June 1993.
Final assembly of the first A319 began on 23 March 1995 and it
was first introduced with
Swissair in April 1996. The direct Boeing
competitor is the
A total of 1,460 of the A319ceo model have been delivered, with 24
remaining on order as of 30 September 2017.
ACJ319 operated by the Austrian operator MJET.
The A319CJ (rebranded ACJ319) is the corporate jet version of the
A319. It incorporates removable extra fuel tanks (up to 6 Additional
Center Tanks) which are installed in the cargo compartment, and an
increased service ceiling of 12,500 m (41,000 ft).
Range with eight passengers' payload and auxiliary fuel tanks (ACTs)
is up to 6,000 nautical miles (11,100 km). Upon resale,
the aircraft can be reconfigured as a standard A319 by removing its
extra tanks and corporate cabin outfit, thus maximising its resale
value. It was formerly also known as the ACJ, or
Airbus Corporate Jet,
while starting with 2014 it has the marketing designation ACJ319.
The aircraft seats up to 39 passengers, but may be outfitted by the
customers into any configuration. Tyrolean Jet Service Mfg. GmbH &
Reliance Industries are among its users. The A319CJ
competes with other ultralarge-cabin corporate jets such as the Boeing
Boeing Business Jet (BBJ) and
Embraer Lineage 1000, as
well as with large-cabin and ultralong-range Gulfstream G650,
Gulfstream G550 and Bombardier's Global 6000. It is powered by the
same engine types as the A320. The A319CJ was used by the Escadron de
Transport, d'Entraînement et de Calibration which is in charge of
transportation for France's officials and also by the Flugbereitschaft
German Air Force
German Air Force for transportation of Germany's officials. An
ACJ serves as a presidential or official aircraft of Armenia,
Azerbaijan, Brazil, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Germany, Italy,
Malaysia, Slovakia, Thailand, Turkey, Ukraine, and Venezuela.
Airbus A318 is the smallest member of the
Airbus A320 family. The
A318 carries up to 132 passengers and has a maximum range of 3,100 nmi
(5,700 km; 3,600 mi). The aircraft entered service in July
2003 with Frontier Airlines, and shares a common type rating with all
Airbus A320 family variants, allowing existing A320 family
pilots to fly the aircraft without the need for further training. It
is the largest commercial aircraft certified by the European Aviation
Safety Agency for steep approach operations, allowing flights at
airports such as London City Airport. Relative to other
family variants, the A318 has sold in only small numbers with total
orders for only 80 aircraft placed as of
31 October 2015[update].
A programme to convert A320 and A321 aircraft into freighters was set
Airbus Freighter Conversion GmbH. Airframes would be converted
EADS EFW in Dresden, Germany, and Zhukovsky, Russia. The launch
customer AerCap signed a firm contract on 16 July 2008 to convert 30
of AerCap's passenger A320/A321s into A320/A321P2F (passenger to
freighter). However, on 3 June 2011,
Airbus announced all partners
would end the passenger to freighter programme, citing high demand for
used airframes for passenger service.
On 17 June 2015, ST Aerospace, signed agreements with
Airbus and EADS
EFW for a collaboration to launch the A320/A321 passenger-to-freighter
(P2F) conversion programme.
Main article: List of
Airbus A320 family operators
IndiGo has ordered 400 A320neo aircraft.
As of 31 December 2017, 7,630
Airbus A320-family aircraft (all
variants, including the A320neo family) remained in commercial service
with over 330 airline operators. This includes 67 A318, 1,446 A319ceo,
4,270 A320ceo, 229 A320neo, 1,598 A321ceo and 20 A321neo aircraft.
Air France, Avianca, and
British Airways are the only operators to
operate all four variants of the A320ceo family.
Orders and deliveries
Main article: List of
Airbus A320 orders
See also: List of
Airbus A320neo family orders and deliveries
Table does not include orders and deliveries of A320neo aircraft
family. Data through end of December 2017.
Accidents and incidents
Main article: Accidents and incidents involving the
Airbus A320 family
For the entire A320 family, 118 aviation accidents and incidents have
occurred (the last one being
Afriqiyah Airways Flight 209
Afriqiyah Airways Flight 209 on 23 Dec
2016), including 35 hull loss accidents (the last one being
EgyptAir Flight 804
EgyptAir Flight 804 on 19 May 2016), and a total of 1393
fatalities (the last one aboard
EgyptAir Flight 804
EgyptAir Flight 804 on 19 May
It has seen fifty incidents where several flight displays were
lost. Through 2015, the
Airbus A320 family has experienced 0.12
fatal hull-loss accidents for every million takeoffs, and 0.26 total
hull-loss accidents for every million takeoffs.
Exit limit EASA/FAA
1-class max. seating
132 at 29–30 in (74–76 cm) pitch
156 at 28–30 in (71–76 cm) pitch
186 at 29 in (74 cm) pitch
236 at 28 in (71 cm) pitch
117 at 32 in (81 cm) pitch
134 at 32 in (81 cm) pitch
164 at 32 in (81 cm) pitch
199 at 32 in (81 cm) pitch
107 (8F @ 38 in, 99Y @ 32 in)
124 (8F @ 38 in, 116Y @ 32 in)
150 (12F @ 36 in, 138Y @ 32 in)
185 (16F @ 36 in, 169Y @ 32 in)
21.20 m3 (749 cu ft)
27.70 m3 (978 cu ft)
37.40 m3 (1,321 cu ft)
51.70 m3 (1,826 cu ft)
Unit load devices
31.44 m (103 ft 2 in)
33.84 m (111 ft 0 in)
37.57 m (123 ft 3 in)
44.51 m (146 ft 0 in)
10.25 m (33 ft 8 in)
11.04 m (36 ft 3 in)
12.64 m (41 ft 6 in)
16.91 m (55 ft 6 in)
7.59 m (24 ft 11 in)
34.10 m (111 ft 11 in)
35.8 m (117 ft 5 in) [c]
124 m2 (1,330 sq ft), 10.3 aspect ratio
128 m2 (1,380 sq ft), 10 AR
12.56 m (41 ft 2 in)
11.76 m (38 ft 7 in)
4.14 m (13 ft 7 in) height, 3.95 m (13 ft
0 in) width, 3.70 m (12 ft 2 in) cabin width
Maximum takeoff weight
Maximum takeoff weight (MTOW)
68 t (150,000 lb)
75.5 t (166,000 lb)
78 t (172,000 lb)
93.5 t (206,000 lb)
Maximum landing weight (MLW)
57.5 t (127,000 lb)
62.5 t (138,000 lb)
66 t (146,000 lb)
77.8 t (172,000 lb)
Maximum zero-fuel weight (MZFW)
54.5 t (120,000 lb)
58.5 t (129,000 lb)
62.5 t (138,000 lb)
73.8 t (163,000 lb)
Operating empty weight (OEW)
39.5 t (87,100 lb)
40.8 t (89,900 lb)
42.6 t (93,900 lb)
48.5 t (107,000 lb)
Cruise: Mach 0.78 (447 kn; 829 km/h), MMO:
Mach 0.82 (470 kn; 871 km/h)
Range, typical payload[d]
3,100 nmi, 5,750 km
3,750 nmi, 6,950 km[c]
3,300 nmi, 6,100 km[c]
3,200 nmi, 5,950 km[c]
4,200 nmi, 7,800 km
6,000 nmi, 11,100 km
4,300 nmi, 7,800 km
Takeoff run (MTOW, SL, ISA)
1,780 m (5,840 ft)
1,850 m (6,070 ft)
2,100 m (6,900 ft)
Landing (MLW, SL, ISA)
1,230 m (4,040 ft)
1,360 m (4,460 ft)
1,500 m (4,900 ft)
24,210 L (6,400 US gal)
24,210–30,190 L (6,400–7,980 US gal)
24,210–27,200 L (6,400–7,190 US gal)
24,050–30,030 L (6,350–7,930 US gal)
39,100–41,000 ft (11,900–12,500 m)
CFM International CFM56-5B, 68.3 in (1.73 m) fan
PW6000A, 56.5 in (1.44 m) fan
IAE V2500A5, 63.5 in (1.61 m) fan
96–106 kN (22,000–24,000 lbf)
98–120 kN (22,000–27,000 lbf)
133–147 kN (30,000–33,000 lbf)
23 May 2003
23 May 2003
21 December 2005
21 December 2005
10 April 1996
CFM56-5B5 or 5B5/P
10 April 1996
CFM56-5B6 or 5B6/P or 5B6/2P
31 May 1996
CFM56-5A4 or 5A4/F
31 May 1996
CFM56-5A5 or 5A5/F
30 July 1999
CFM56-5B7 or 5B7/P
18 December 1996
IAE Model V2522-A5
18 December 1996
IAE Model V2524-A5
30 July 1999
IAE Model V2527M-A5
26 February 1988
CFM56-5A1 or 5A1/F
8 November 1988
CFM56-5A1 or 5A1/F
20 November 1990
10 March 1995
CFM56-5B4 or 5B4/P or 5B4/2P
22 June 2006
14 June 2006
20 April 1989
IAE Model V2500-A1
28 September 1993
IAE Model V2527-A5
12 June 1996
IAE Model V2527E-A5
27 May 1995
CFM56-5B1 or 5B1/P or 5B1/2P
15 February 1995
CFM56-5B2 or 5B2/P
17 December 1993
IAE Model V2530-A5
20 March 1997
CFM56-5B3 or 5B3/P or 5B3/2P
31 August 2001
CFM56-5B1 or 5B1/P or 5B1/2P
31 August 2001
CFM56-5B2 or 5B2/P
20 March 1997
IAE Model V2533-A5
31 August 2001
IAE Model V2530-A5
Airbus and Boeing
Airbus A320neo family
Aircraft of comparable role, configuration and era
Boeing 737 Classic
Boeing 737 Next Generation
McDonnell Douglas MD-80
McDonnell Douglas MD-90
List of aircraft
List of jet airliners
^ Final assembly in
Germany (Hamburg), China
(Tianjin,) and the
United States (Mobile, Alabama)
^ a b At 30 September 2017,
Airbus still list
American Airlines and US
Airways as separate operators. Following a merger of the airlines
in October 2015, the
American Airlines total used here is combined for
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Wikimedia Commons has media related to
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Max Kingsley-Jones (26 March 2018). "Analysis : Three decades
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