Encyclopedia - Airbus A319 / A320 / A321
With 40 million flight hours to date, more than 2,600 aircraft delivered, the 4,000th aircraft ordered last year and almost 160 operators, the A318, A319, A320 and A321 make up the world's best-selling single-aisle aircraft family. Designed to optimise revenue through cabin adaptability and passenger comfort and featuring the most modern and complete fly-by-wire technology available on any single-aisle aircraft, they ensure savings in every element of direct operating cost and provide operators with the highest degree of operational commonality and economy for aircraft in the 100-220 seat category.
The A320 Family’s optimised cabin cross-section – the widest single-aisle fuselage on the market – sets new standards for passenger cabin flexibility in this segment. It allows for top-of-the-range comfort with wider seats and aisles, or an extra-wide aisle for the fast turnarounds that are essential in the low-cost markets. Furthermore, the superior cabin size and shape allow larger overhead stowage to be fitted for faster boarding and deplaning as well as greater convenience.
The wider fuselage also provides unmatched cargo capability and the A319, A320 and A321 are unique in their category in offering a containerised cargo loading system that is essential for profitable cargo operations. This system is compatible with the worldwide standard widebody system, which reduces ground equipment and handling costs. The family’s impressive level of dispatch reliability further enhances profitability and passenger service. In addition, the A320 Family is an environmentally responsible neighbour, offering the lowest fuel burn, emissions and noise footprints in its class.
All these are the reasons why this family of aircraft has established itself as the preferred choice with established airlines and passengers, as well as with the fast-growing, low-cost carrier market for which it is now the definite reference.
The A320 entered airline service in April 1988 and rapidly established itself as the industry standard for passenger comfort and economy on short and medium-haul routes. Typically seating 150 passengers in two classes or up to 180 for low-cost operations, the A320 has a range of up to 5,700km/3,000nm. The A320 is in widespread service on five continents, flying routes that range from short European commuter sectors, through European charter operations to coast-to-coast US flights.
Entering service in early 1994, the largest member of the A320 Family, the A321 has a range of up to 5,600km/3,000nm. With an unmatched operating cost per seat it typically carries some 185 passengers in two classes, though it can seat up to 220 passengers for charter and low-cost operators.
The A319, first delivered in April 1996, continues to prove its versatility, enabling carriers to benefit from its range options and seat layout flexibility. In addition to the standard 124-seat model, which has a range of up to 6,800km/3,700nm, Airbus offers an option, as ordered by easyJet and others, allowing increased seating efficiency with typically up to 156 seats. A new version of the A319, the 48-seat A319 Long Range, went into service in May 2003 with PrivatAir on behalf of Lufthansa.
With a range of up to 3,250nm/6,000km, the A318 entered service in July 2003 and typically accommodates 107 passengers in a two-class layout and up to 132 passengers in a single-class layout. It has unbeatable take-off and landing performance, requiring less runway length than comparable aircraft and therefore provides operators with access to a greater diversity of airfields. Furthermore, the A318 will be certified for Steep Approach operations in early 2006 opening up further airfield possibilities. When combined with its ultra-low noise characteristics, these features make the A318 an extremely good neighbour for downtown airports.
The A320 Family profits from the unique benefits of Airbus operational commonality and capitalising on the launch of the A318, Airbus has introduced a number of enhanced aircraft systems that improve the overall reliability and reduce maintenance and spares costs and that are now standard on all newly ordered A320 Family aircraft. Among these, the new generation of Cabin Intercommunication Data System which includes a graphic touch-screen for the Flight Attendant Panel facilitating programming and reducing training time as well as new Liquid Crystal Display screens in the cockpit that are lighter and clearer than cathode ray tubes but present the data in the same way to preserve cockpit commonality for pilots. Furthermore, several aircraft systems have been revised to drive down both maintenance and spares cost including the electrical generating system.
In addition, this family of aircraft provides operators with tremendous flexibility in matching the right aircraft to specific route requirements through Airbus’ Dynamic Capacity Management. All A320 Family aircraft share the Same Type Rating, allowing pilots to fly all of them after attending only one training course and enabling the same team of mechanics to maintain the aircraft. And with only minimal additional training pilots can transition from the single-aisles to larger long-range aircraft quickly and simply thanks to Airbus' unique family concept and the exceptional degree of operational commonality.
The twin-engine A319, A320 and A321 can be powered by either CFM International CFM56 or International Aero Engines V2500 engines, while the A318 is offered with CFM56 engines or Pratt & Whitney PW6000A engines. With the integration of its first A318 into its fleet, Air France is the first ever airline to operate the complete Airbus A320 Family.
Headquartered in Toulouse Airbus is an EADS joint Company with BAE Systems.
Information supplied by Airbus