Airbus envisioned a large family of airliners to compete against Boeing and Douglas, two established US aerospace firms, when it created the A300 in the late 1960s and early 1970s. Airbus envisioned a large family of airliners to compete against Boeing and Douglas when it designed the A300 in the late 1960s and early 1970s. In support of this long-term ambition, Airbus has launched research into A300B variants. Several European aircraft manufacturers planned to replace the 737-200 and DC-9 with a successor to the BAC One-Eleven. A variety aircraft 150-seat designs were developed by VFW-Fokker, Dornier, and Hawker Siddeley.
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CFM International's CFM56 turbofan engine, International Aero Engines' V2500, and Pratt & Whitney's PW6000 turbofan engines are the only turbofan engines available for the A320 series. The A320neo (new engine option) is a development that began on December 1, 2010, flew for the first time on September 25, 2014, and was presented by Lufthansa on January 25, 2016. It should be 15% more fuel efficient if re-engineered with CFM International LEAP-1A or Pratt & Whitney PW1000G engines with huge sharklets. The A319, A320, and A321 are three versions based on the earlier A319, A320, and A321. By March 2018, Airbus had received 6,031 orders and had delivered 318 of them. For the current engine choice, the original family is dubbed A320ceo.
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A320s are built on the Toulouse Blagnac final assembly line, whereas A318s, A319s, and A321s are built on the Hamburg Finkenwerder final assembly line. A319s, A320s, and A321s are assembled at the Airbus facility in Tianjin, China. The Airbus Americas facility is also located in Mobile, Alabama. With the delivery of the 9000th A320-family aircraft to Easyjet in September 2019, Airbus achieved a significant milestone. Airbus opened its fourth Hamburg manufacturing line in June 2018, coupled with a bigger and modernised delivery centre, with two seven-axis robots drilling 80 percent of fuselage upper side holes, autonomous mobile tooling platforms, and Design Thinking concepts.
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The Airbus A320 series of aircraft has a common design, however passenger capacity on the A321 ranges from 100 to 220. The 737, 757, and 717 are competitors. Since 2004 (EASA) and 2006 (FAA), all versions have been ETOPS (Extended-range Twin-engine Operational Performance Standards) approved for 180 minutes (FAA). Although the term "A320" technically refers exclusively to the first mid-sized aircraft, it is frequently used colloquially to refer to any of the A318/A319/A320/A321 family members.
The Airbus A318 is the smallest of the A320 series of planes. Frontier Airlines took delivery of the aircraft in July 2003. It is the world's biggest commercial aircraft licenced for steep approach operations by the European Aviation Safety Agency, permitting flights at airports such as London City Airport. The A318 had a list price of US$77.4 million as of October 31, 2015. The aircraft first flew for Frontier Airlines in July 2003, and it has a single type rating with all other Airbus A320 family variants, allowing existing A320 family pilots to operate it without additional training.
The A319 is a reduced variant of the A320 with four frames deleted from the fore of the wing. The "Sharklets" have a range of 6,650 km (3,590 nmi) with 124 people in a two-class configuration. The A319 has two propulsion options: the 23,040–24,800 lbf IAE V2500 or the 22,000–27,000 lbf (98–120 kN) CFM56. The final construction of the first A319 commenced on March 23, 1995, and it was initially introduced in April 1996 with Swissair. In reality, ILFC was the A319's first client, having ordered six of the planes by 1993. The A319 was created at the request of ILFC's previous president and CEO, Steven F. Udvar-Házy.
Users include Tyrolean Jet Services Mfg. & CO KG, MJET, and Reliance Industries. With the cargo of eight people and supplementary fuel tanks, the range is up to 11,000 kilometres (6,000 nmi). The A319CJ competes with other ultralarge-cabin corporate aircraft, such as the Boeing Business Jet, which is based on the Boeing 737-700. Users include Tyrolean Jet Services Mfg. GmbH & CO KG, MJET, and Reliance Industries. It was previously known as the ACJ, or Airbus Corporate Jet, but from 2014, it has been marketed as the ACJ319. Other ultralarge-cabin business aircraft that compete with the A319CJ include the Boeing 737-700-based Boeing Business Jet (BBJ) and Embraer Lineage 1000, as well as the large-cabin and ultralong-range Gulfstream G650, G550, and Bombardier's Global 6000.
The A320-100 and A320-200 are two variations of the A320 series. For airfields with bad runway conditions, India Airlines utilised its first 31 A320-200s with double-bogie main landing gear. The 737-800 is the closest Boeing rival, powered by two CFM56-5 or IAE V2500 engines with thrust ratings of 98–120 kN (22,000–27,000 lbf) with a normal range of 3,300 nmi / 6,100 km with 150 passengers. There have been 4,512 A320ceo models delivered, with 220 more on order. In 1988, a new A320 cost $30 million, rising to $40 million by the end of the decade, a 30% rise below inflation. After 2001, it fell to $37 million, peaked at $47 million in 2008, and then stabilised at $40–42 million until the changeover to the A320neo.
The A321 fuselage was the first derivative of the A320, which initially flew in 1988. The maximum takeoff weight of the A321-100 has been increased by 9,600 kg (21,200 lb) to 83,000 kg (183,000 lb). Double-slotted flaps were fitted to preserve performance. The 737-900/900ER and the 757-200 are its closest Boeing rivals. It took to the skies for the first time in December 1996 and was put into service with Monarch Airlines in April 1997. It now has a fuel capacity of 30,030 litres (7,930 US gal). As of September 30, 2017, 1,562 A321ceo models had been delivered, with 231 left on order. Lufthansa took delivery of the A321-100 in January 1994.
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There have been 159 notable aviation accidents and incidents involving the A320 family, including 47 hull loss accidents (the most recent being Pakistan International Airlines Flight 8303 on May 22, 2020), resulting in 1393 fatalities. The A320 family has had 50 incidences when several flight displays have been lost. In 2015, there were 0.12 fatal hull loss accidents per million takeoffs and 0.26 total hull loss accidents per million takeoffs for the Airbus A320 series.
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The Airbus A320 family consists of narrow-body (single-aisle) aircraft with retractable tricycle landing gear and two turbofan engines positioned on the wing pylons. Over 3,984 km (2,151 nmi) (between Los Angeles and New York City), a 150-seat A320 uses 11,608 kg of jet fuel, or 2.43 L/100 km (97 mpg US) each seat. The 737-300, according to Airbus, consumes 35 percent more fuel and has a 16 percent higher operational cost per seat than the A320 powered by the V2500-engine. It used composite main structures, fuel-based center-of-gravity control, a glass cockpit (EFIS), and a two-crew flight deck to achieve this.
Low-wing cantilever monoplanes with a conventional empennage and a single vertical stabiliser and rudder, the Airbus A320 series. The A320 has a larger single-aisle cabin than previous planes in its class, with an outer diameter of 3.95 metres (156 inches). CASA, which also makes the elevators, main landing gear doors, and rear fuselage elements, constructs the tail assembly nearly completely of composites.
Rather than the hybrid cockpits used on prior planes, it has a complete glass cockpit. The Electronic Flight Instrument System (EFIS) with side-stick controls is installed on the A320's flight deck. Since 2003, the A320's flight deck has used liquid crystal displays (LCDs) instead of the original CRT screens. The A320 kept the black cockpit from the A310, the first widebody intended to be flown without a flight engineer and inspired by Bernard Ziegler, the son of the first Airbus CEO Henri Ziegler.
The Airbus A320 is the first aircraft in the world to use a digital fly-by-wire flight control system. The introduction of FBW, according to Roger Béteille, then-President of Airbus, was one of the most difficult decisions he had ever taken. The Intel 80186 and Motorola 68010 CPUs were utilised in the first A320s. The flight management computer in 1988 had six Intel 80286 CPUs that ran in three logical pairs and had 2.5 MB of memory. The Airbus crew that tested FBW on an A320 with the Airbus A300 was cross-fertilized by the Dassault Mirage 2000 fighter.
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There were 9,589 A320 family aircraft in commercial service as of January 2022, with over 330 operators. American Airlines had 445 flights, China Eastern Airlines had 357, EasyJet had 321, China Southern Airlines had 305, and IndiGo had 264. Air France, British Airways, and Frontier Airlines are the only airlines that have flown all four A320ceo types.