Since entering commercial service in 1988, Airbus’ A320 Family has transported some seven billion passengers – which is equivalent to the current world population. This best-selling single-aisle product line is in operation on every continent across the globe – including such picturesque destinations as Bhutan, high up in the Eastern Himalayas, and Antarctica, where the aircraft land on a blue ice runway during summer.
The family boasts an operational reliability rate of 99.7 per cent, and has never ceased to evolve – staying at the cutting edge of technology and, as a result, cost-effectiveness. Airbus spends approximately 300 million euros annually on A320 Family developments.
Airbus’ A320 product line – consisting of the A318, A319, A320 and A321 jetliners – became even more efficient with introduction of the company’s Sharklets large fuel-saving wing-tip devices. In addition to reducing fuel burn by up to four per cent and CO2 emissions by approximately 1,000 tons per aircraft and year, Sharklets offer operators the flexibility of either adding an additional 100 nautical miles range or increased payload capability of up to 450 kilograms.
The A320 Family will be even more fuel-efficient and eco-friendly with the new engine option now being offered to customers. This option – designated neo – uses Sharklets and incorporates two new engine choices: the PW1100G PurePower from Pratt & Whitney and CFM International’s LEAP. These improvements will deliver fuel savings of 15 per cent and an additional flight distance of 500 nautical miles, or the ability to carry two tonnes more payload at a given range. For the environment, the A320neo’s fuel savings translate into some 3,600 tonnes less CO2 per aircraft per year, and is to provide a double-digit reduction in NOx emissions along with reduced engine noise.
Airbus has sold over 8,500 A320 Family aircraft to date, while delivering more than 5,100 to 365 customers and operators worldwide. Demand is so strong that the company is producing them at a rate of 40 aircraft per month, and this will increase to 42 towards by the end of 2012 – marking the highest-ever production rate for a commercial aircraft. And Airbus delivers them to a very high standard, underscored by its latest customer satisfaction rating of 95 per cent.
A320 Family aircraft have totalled 120 million flight hours, and today one of them takes off or lands every 2.5 seconds somewhere in the world.