Airbus is developing a new package that will allow A320 Family operators to fly their aircraft for an additional 10 to 20 years or more. Based on in-service experience and market expectations, the Extended Service Goal (ESG) package is divided into two phases. ESG I will enable A320 Family aircraft to fly up to 60,000 flight cycles or 120,000 flight hours, and is planned for approval by the end of 2010. ESG II will go even further, up to the maximum economic potential of the airframe.
The Extended Service Goal will enable A320 Family operators to earn additional revenue by flying their aircraft longer, as well as benefiting from the increased residual value of their Airbus single-aisle fleets. In addition, A320 operators will be able to make the most of the aircraft's potential with Airbus fleet upgrade and harmonization services such as the In-service Enhancement Package, and the enhanced cabin or fuel saving measures offered by Airbus to keep in-service aircraft at the highest level of efficiency.
The maintenance programme for higher-time aircraft is coming close to the end of its original approved validity (48,000 flight cycles/60,000 flight hours). For aircraft having already reached 60,000 flight hours, an intermediate service goal solution was provided in late 2007 to allow these aircraft to be operated until ESG I completion.
To achieve approval for the Extended Service Goal package, Airbus is carrying out full-scale fatigue tests on specially-manufactured partial aircraft test sections. The original A320 configuration will be taken into consideration, as well as the specificities of each type. All of the results will be compiled to show the fatigue behaviour of the complete aircraft. These tests will take into account the 20 years of experience in A320 Family operations and make use of new generation calculation and simulation methods in a modern and representative test environment. The tests will continue until mid-2010 to assess and confirm the ESG II requirements.
The A320 Family incorporates all the latest advances in technology, such as fly-by-wire flight controls, the extensive use of new materials, an advanced flight deck with side sticks and the centralised fault display system. Airlines have benefited from A320 Family advanced technology and its unique operational commonality for over 20 years of successful operation. Demand for the A320 Family continues to be very high, with more than 3,300 aircraft delivered to 200 operators and a backlog of more than 2,300.