Airbus' delivery of its 6,000th jetliner today underscores the company's continued leading role as a provider of highly efficient aircraft to airline operators and customers around the world.
The milestone aircraft is an A380 for Emirates - the largest single customer for this 21st century flagship jetliner, and an airline that has flown Airbus-built aircraft from its creation in 1985.
Today's handover was performed in Hamburg, Germany, and comes after a record year for Airbus deliveries, as the 498 aircraft provided to customers in 2009 was an all-time high in its 40-year history.
"It took 19 years for Airbus to produce its first 1,000 aircraft, and just two years for the latest 1,000," said President and CEO Tom Enders. "Our strong order backlog and the continued delivery rates will help us on our way to reaching the 7,000th."
The 6,000 deliveries are led by the best-selling A320 Family, with more than 4,120 of these single-aisle aircraft provided by Airbus. Its other deliveries are composed of 1,030-plus widebody A330/A340s and 816 A300/A310s, along with 25 A380s.
"It is fitting that our 6,000th aircraft is an A380, and it is going to an airline with 58 on order, and which is truly maximising this aircraft's potential," Enders said. "The continued and unfailing support Emirates has given to Airbus and the A380 programme is greatly appreciated by all of us."
Airbus delivered its first aircraft - an A300B2 - in May 1974. The 1,000th delivery milestone occurred in March 1993 with an A340-300, and was followed by the 2000th handover in May 1999, which also was an A340-300. An A320 was the 3,000th aircraft delivered in July 2002, while the 4,000th delivery occurred in September 2005 with an A330-300. The 5,000th milestone was achieved in December 2007 with the delivery of an A330-200.
Sustained delivery rates are planned for Airbus' jetliner product line over the long term, as its current backlog of more than 3,480 aircraft is equivalent to some six years of full production.