Air New Zealand Airbus A320 232 at Wellington Airport

Airbus A320 Introduction – The very popular short haul airliner.

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Airbus Industries A320

The Airbus Industries A320 jet family of airplanes consists of four different variants; A318, A319, A320 and the A321. The Airbus A320 seating layout was Airbus’ first narrow body offering in the single-aisle, short to medium range market. The A320 was the first of this family to be produced and first flew on 22 February 1987.

In the A320, Airbus pioneered the fighter style side-stick for flight control. This was all part of the fly by wire that was also pioneered in this aeroplane. Fly by wire replaced manual connections between the controls and the flight surfaces with electric wire that transmitted electronic signals from the pilot’s flight controls through a computer to actuators which physically moved the surfaces. This system enabled more fail-safe systems to be built to the aircraft so that pilots could not put the aircraft into situations that were dangerous to flight safety. In addition, the weight saving of using electrical wire instead of heavier cables was also a benefit to the economy of the aircraft.

Airbus needed an aeroplane to break into a segment of the airline market where previously they were absent. It was set to compete head to head with Boeings’ 717, 757 and 737 as well as McDonnell Douglas’ MD80 and MD90. Between 2005 and 2007 the A320 family was the fastest-selling jet airliner family.

Airbus_A320_sharklet_692x389

Airbus launches the A320 with Sharklets. Sharklets are what airbus calls the winglets designed to give extra lift and therefore better fuel economy.

Airbus A320 NEO

In 2006, Airbus began a program of improvements for the A320 family. The A320NEO (New Engine Option) or A320E (A320 Enhanced) are targeted at bringing the A320 into the modern age with improvements around fuel efficiency, environmental considerations and passenger comfort. These improvements include new winglets or Sharklets as Airbus prefer to call them, which will enhance the aerodynamic performance. These, along with weight savings will reduce fuel burn, always a very important consideration in todays’ high cost fuel environment. A new cabin layout with increased carry on luggage storage space and as well as an improved air purification system will be a winner with passengers. Being used mainly as a short haul commuter jet, the trend today is for passengers to travel with carry-on luggage only, so cabin baggage space is an important factor.



As the name A320NEO suggests, the new jet offering will come with engine options of either: CFM International LEAP-X or Pratt & Whitney PW1000G. These new generation engines will deliver savings in fuel as well as a reduction of Nitrogen Oxide output in the region of 10%. The fuel saving will offer an average of 500 nautical miles of extra range over current offerings.

If there is more you want to learn about this airliner, please visit; A320 historyA320 Specs, A320 Interior, A320 Order Book and A320 Assembly.
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