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Commonality

Creating simplicity

Ever since the creation of its first aircraft, Airbus has prioritized commonality throughout its diverse product line. By creating a common process, Airbus streamlines and simplifies many aspects of flying and aircraft maintenance. The goal is to make operations, training and maintenance easier and less expensive for customers. This process is simplified with the high inter-changeability of systems and parts, reducing the amount of time that aircraft spend on the ground, and therefore saving money. 

This value contributes to the efficiency and operational flexibility of Airbus jetliners on a daily basis. Passengers rest assured knowing that Airbus aircraft incorporate the best designs with a simple process that provides the most reliable, efficient and easily maintained product line – perfect to get you where you need to go on time and in comfort. 

Fifteen of the company’s aircraft models, from the 100-seat A318 to the double-deck A380 – including the three new A350 XWB Family members – feature nearly identical flight decks and similar handling characteristics. This commonality enables Cross-Crew-Qualification of pilots, which reduces pilot training time while bringing significant savings through reduced maintenance and streamlined procedures.

Benefits for pilots

Benefits for pilots

The commonality concept was taken to a new level in the 1980s with Airbus’ first single-aisle aircraft, the A320, and the introduction of digital fly-by-wire controls. Identical cockpits and operating procedures were applied to each of the A320 Family’s versions – the A318, A319, A320 and A321 – allowing pilots to fly all these aircraft with a single type rating. 

In addition, with Airbus’ Crew-Crew-Qualification concept, fly-by-wire qualified pilots are positioned for an easy transition between the A320 Family and Airbus’ larger A330, A340 and A380 aircraft through straightforward and rapid differential training. 

Another advantage of Airbus commonality is Mixed Fleet Flying, which is a pilot's ability to be current on more than one Airbus fly-by-wire aircraft type at a time. For example, this capability enables a pilot rated on an A340 to switch from very long-haul operations to short- or medium-haul flights at the controls of the A320 Family. 

Each of these components of Airbus commonality leads to lower training costs for airlines and considerably increased crew productivity. The annual savings in training and payroll expenses through improved productivity from the reduced transition time can be up to U.S.$300,000 for each new Airbus aircraft added to the fleet. In addition, it is more economical for an airline to recruit new pilots who already are Airbus-qualified.

Cabin crews

Commonality improves the flight experience for everyone on board. Airbus ensures that the consistency doesn’t finish in the cockpit but instead extends from the flight deck into the passenger cabin as well, with a maximum use of similar systems, control panels and procedures within the various aircraft families. This makes it even easier for cabin crew to do their job and dedicate even more attention to passengers.