It takes 340,000 parts to construct the best-selling aircraft in the world – Airbus A32030.09.2021
It takes 340,000 parts, 575 of which are buttons, switches and knobs, to construct the best-selling aircraft in the world – Airbus A320, the first member of the most popular single-aisle aircraft family in the world.
Since the delivery of the first A320 aircraft in 1988, there have been 15,690 A320 family aircraft orders from over 300 customers. The family airliners are preferred by both low-carrier and regular airlines and operate on every continent, including Antarctica.
Members of the A320 aircraft family
The most successful and versatile jetliner family consists of one aircraft, the A320, in four sizes: the shorter versions – the A318 and the A319 – and the longer A321. The A320 family offers comfortable seating options for 120 – 244 passengers, allowing operators to choose the right aircraft size corresponding to the market’s needs.
There are four final assembly lines in three continents for the A320 Family: Toulouse, France (A320 assembly); Hamburg, Germany (A319, A320 and A321 assembly); Tianjin, China (A319 and A320 assembly); and Mobile, USA (A220, A319, A320 and A321 assembly).
One of the largest aircraft family advantages is a common type rating. Airbus A320 type rating allows pilots to fly any aircraft in the A320 family while piloting A320neo aircraft require only a few days of additional training.
The A320 single-aisle airliner is the baseline aircraft for the A320 family. The model was the first civil aircraft to feature a digital fly-by-wire system, improving handling and enhancing safety, which is now a standard for aircraft. The plane is used on short and medium-haul flights, with a range of up to 6,150 kilometres. It has a wingspan of 35.8 meters (with wing fins called sharklets), a length of 37.57 meters and a maximum payload of 16.6 tones. The airliner usually seats from 140 to 170 passengers and has a maximum capacity to accommodate as many as 180 people.
The A321 is the longest-fuselage member of Airbus’ A320 family. This stretched-fuselage airliner has an overall length of 44.51 metres and can comfortably seat between 170 and 200 passengers – or up to 220 in a high-density layout. The aircraft has two other variants – A321LR and A321XLR – that have extended the airliner’s range and maximum takeoff weight.
The A319 is a shortened-fuselage version of Airbus’ A320 aircraft. It is a convenient and versatile model providing a range of seating options, from the 110-seat configuration to a capacity of up to 160. Just like other A320 family aircraft, the A319 has the same optimised cabin cross-section and can offer passengers unmatched comfort as the widest single-aisle fuselage on the market.
The A318 aircraft offers the comforts of A320 family aircraft in an even shorter body. The airliner can seat between 90 and 110 passengers and is considered to be the largest commercial aircraft certified to land at steeper-than-usual gradients. Therefore, it is ideal for operations at such constrained locations as downtown airports.
The NEO family
First announced in 2010, the NEO (new engine option) was Airbus’ move to updating the A320 family members with new and better engines, making them more efficient and eco-friendly. In just five years since the first delivery of the A320neo, the NEO family aircraft have saved 6 million tons of CO2 and reduced the noise footprints by almost 50%. The key benefits of the A320neo compared to A320 are 20% fuel burn and CO emissions advantage, 5% lower airframe maintenance costs, and 14% lower cash operating costs per seat.
The NEO jets family consists of A320neo, A321neo, A319neo, while A318 was decided not to be updated due to the lower popularity of the variant. The original aircraft family is now referred to as the CEO (current engine option) line.
The A321XLR is the latest evolution of the A320neo family. It is the longest-range (up to 8700 km) single-aisle aircraft great for long-haul routes, combining single-aisle efficiency with wide-body comfort.