AIRBUZZ: Airbus’ A320 Family has carried the world
Since entering commercial service in 1988, Airbus’ A320 product line has transported some seven billion passengers – which is equivalent to the total number of people on Earth.
This best-selling aircraft family – consisting of the A318, A319, A320 and A321 jetliners – is in operation on every continent across the globe, including at such picturesque destinations as Bhutan in the Eastern Himalayas and Antarctica, where the aircraft land on a blue ice runway during summer.
The highly-reliable A320 Family has been consistently evolved over the years, ensuring it stays at the cutting edge of technology and, as a result, cost-effectiveness. Airbus spends approximately 300 million euros annually on the product line’s continued development.
Recognised worldwide as the benchmark single-aisle jetliner product line, the family became even more efficient with the introduction of Airbus’ 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-1A. 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.
Through 2014, over 11,500 A320 Family aircraft had been sold to customers worldwide – with this figure including more than 3,621 orders for Airbus’ eco-efficient A320neo jetliners. The product line’s delivery count stood at 6,300-plus aircraft, resulting in a backlog of more than 5,100 airliners.
To meet high commercial demand, Airbus produces A320 Family jetliners at a rate of 42 per month – a rate which the company is gradually increasing to reach an output of 50 single-aisle jetliners monthly in 2017.
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