The Airbus A320 is a family of two-engined commercial passenger planes of short-medium range, produced by the European manufacturer Airbus. It is the first passenger plane equipped with fly-by-wire technology, side-stick controls and the most popular Airbus model, with more than 3000 operational jets and highest production rate. Direct competitor of the Boeing 737 and Douglas DC-9, the single-aisle A320 has a capacity of maximum 180 passengers in a two-class cabin.

The Airbus A320 Family The Airbus A320 Family Pictures

First member of its family, the A320 flew for the first time on 22 February 1987. The family soon received new members, the A321, the A319 and the A318. A new generation was launched in 2010 with the A320neo or New Engine Option that has 16% less fuel consumption. The most striking upgrades consist of airframe improvement and “Sharklet” winglets. Approximately 1.196 orders were placed by 21 companies. Construction of a new Airbus production facility for 319, 320 and 321 models started in April 2013, Alabama.

The A320
Capable of carrying 150-180 passengers, the A320 has two models, A320-100 produced for Air Inter (only 21 jets) and A320-200. The A320-200 has increased fuel capacity and wingtip fences with a range of 3,300 nautical miles (6,150 km). Powered by two IAE V2500 or CFM56-5 it can reach a maximum speed of 0.82 Mach with maximum take off weight of 77,000 kg (169,000 lb).

The A321
Largest member of the Airbus A320 Family, the A321 has 186 seats and was first delivered in 1994. It has the same maximum speed as the standard A320 but the most noticeable change is the enlarged fuselage with a 4,27 m (14 ft) front plug and a 2,67 m (8 ft 9 in) rear plug. The maximum take off weight increased to 93,500 kg (206,100 lb) and the V2533-A5 or CFM56-5B3 engines gave it more thrust.

The A319

First delivered in 1996, the A319 is the short member of the family, 3.73 m (12 ft 3 in) shorter than the Airbus A329. Its nickname is “minus seven frames” because four frames fore the wing and three frames aft the wing were removed. It has the same engines and fuel capacity as the first model resulting in a higher range of 6,800 km (3,700 nm), but only 124 passenger capacity.

The A318
The A318 is the smallest of the Airbus A320 family with a capacity of maximum 132 passengers and a range of 5,950 km (3,200 nm). It was first delivered in 2003 and unlike the other models, only 100 orders were placed by 2013.

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