Airbus A320 Specs – What is behind one of the most popular short haul airliners?

Airbus A320 Specs – What is behind one of the most popular short haul airliners?

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Airbus A320 Specs

An Airbus A320 in Airbus house colours.

The A320 family of aircraft are configured as a low wing monoplane sporting a cantilevered wing with a sweep back of 25 degrees. The single-aisle narrow-body jet is powered by two

Some basic dimensions of the Airbus A320.

engines located one under each wing. The A320 specifications make it a direct competitor to the Boeing 737 family of aircraft, as well as the McDonnell Douglas MD80/90.

The A320 was the first narrow body airliner to use an appreciable amount of composite materials in its construction. The tail, manufactured by CASA is in fact made up mostly of such materials. Composite materials are a combination of several different materials brought together to form something stronger and often lighter than any of the original components on their own.

To make the A320 more attractive to passengers, and therefore airlines, Airbus decided to make a wider cabin than their competitors. With an outside cabin diameter of 3.95 metres (12 feet 11.5 inches), which stacks up well against the Boeing 737 at 3.8 Metres (12 feet 4 inches) or the Boeing 717 with 3.34 metres (10 feet 11.6 inches). In addition, they made a larger cargo door so that loading and unloading of luggage or cargo could be performed faster assisting with Airbus_A319_A320_A321_flightcontrol_surfacesquick turnaround times at airports.

As has been mentioned on previous pages, the A320 was the second commercial aircraft to use “Fly by Wire” technology, after Concorde. This system of digitised flight control systems, allows the pilot to input to the control surfaces using a side control joystick, as opposed to the accepted quadrant method with a joystick or half wheel located in front of the pilot. This system was already in use in some fighter jets, but this was the first time it was employed in a commercial airliner. Fly by Wire goes beyond the mere control of flight surfaces. It is computer-based technology that is designed to protect the aircraft through flight envelope protection by preventing pilots from being able to put the aircraft in configurations or attitudes that compromised flight safety. Through the Electronic Flight Instrument System (EFIS), which features a full glass cockpit, once again the first commercial airliner to be so equipped, the Electronic Centralised Aircraft Monitor (ECAM) displays information on all aircraft systems. This makes the pilot’s job much easier with all the information in a central location. The early A320s were equipped with Intel 80186 and Motorola 68010 computer processors and in 1988 moved on to the Intel 80286. Each flight management computer had six processors arranged in three pairs. As well as the benefits of simplified control, system redundancy, weight saving and safety, it is very simple to upgrade these systems and keep the aircraft advanced even after a decade or two.

….large winglets which Airbus refer to as Sharklets…..

In an effort to keep improving their narrow-body workhorse, Airbus now have on offer the A320 NEO (New Engine Option) as opposed to the A320 CEO (Current Engine Option). As part of the modernisation program started in 2006, Airbus has been working on the A320E (Enhanced) of which the New Engine Option is the last step. The enhancements include aerodynamic improvements, large winglets which Airbus refer to as Sharklets, larger luggage bins, new look cabin, weight savings and the choice of two new engine types; the Pratt & Whitney PW1100G or the CFM International LEAP-1A. The benefits of these combined improvements deliver an 8% improvement in operating costs derived from a 15% improvement in fuel consumption and the ability to carry around 20 more passengers through a re-arrangement of the cabin. In addition, operators can expect a 500 nautical mile increase in range.

All these enhancements will make the already popular aircraft even more attractive. So-called Low-Cost Carriers who already predominantly use the A320, will find even more to their liking in the more economical version of the A320. Larger luggage bins will also aid them with quick turnarounds at airports as passengers opt to take smaller carry-on bags into the cabin to try and avoid unbundled fares which require them to pay for baggage. Passengers will also enjoy the improved air purification system which will enable them to arrive more refreshed.

In the Specs table below, the figures relate to the Airbus A320 CEO(Current Engine Option). Where applicable we have added figures for the Airbus A320 NEO(New Engine Option) in brackets.

An Airbus A320-200 of Air Asia.
An Air New Zealand Airbus A320-232 climbs out

A320 Specs

In the Specs table below, the figures relate to the Airbus A320 CEO(Current Engine Option). Where applicable we have added figures for the Airbus A320 NEO(New Engine Option) in brackets.


Airbus A318
Airbus A320 Family A318

Airbus A319Airbus A320 Family A319

Airbus A320Airbus A320 Family A320

Airbus A321
Airbus A320 Family A321

Range 5,750 KM
(3,100 NM)
6,950 KM
(3,750 NM)
(NEO 6,950 KM (3,750 NM))
6,100 KM
(3,300 NM)
(NEO 6,500 KM (3,500 NM))
5,950 KM
(3,200 NM)
(NEO 7,400 KM (4,000 NM))
Seating (Typical) 107 124 (NEO 140)
150 (NEO 165)
185 (NEO 190)
Length 31.44 Metres (103ft 2in) 33.84 Metres (111ft 0in) 37.57 Metres (123ft 3in) 44.51 Metres (146ft 0in)
34.10 Metres (111ft 11in) With Sharklets 35.8 metres
(117ft 5in)

Wing Area
122.6 Square Metres (1,320 sq ft)

Wing Sweep Back
25 Degrees

Tail Height 12.51 Metres (41ft 1in) 11.76 Metres (38ft 7in) 11.76 Metres (38ft 7in) 11.76 Metres (38ft 7in)
Fuselage Width

3.95 Metres (13 ft 0 in)

Cabin Width
3.70 Metres (12 ft 2 in)

Fuselage Height
4.14 Metres (13 ft 7 in)
Freight Capacity 21.21 Cubic Metres (749
cu ft)
27.62 Cubic Metres (975
cu ft)
37.41 Cubic Metres
(1,321 cu ft)
51.73 Cubic Metres
(1,827 cu ft)
Cruising Speed
Mach 0.78 (828KPH / 511 MPH at 11,000 Metres / 36,000

Maximum Operating Speed
Mach 0.82 (871KPH / 537 MPH at 11,000 Metres / 36,000

Operating Empty Weight
39,500 kg (87,100 lb) 40,800 kg (89,900 lb)
(NEO 42,600 kg (93,900 lb))
42,600 kg (93,900 lb)
(NEO 44,300 kg (97,700 lb))
48,500 kg (106,900 lb)
(NEO 50,100 kg (110,500 lb))
Maximum Zero Fuel
54,500 kg (120,200 lb) 58,500 kg (129,000 lb) 62,500 kg (137,800 lb) 73,800 kg (162,700 lb)
Maximum Landing
57,500 kg (127,000 lb) 62,500 kg (138,000 lb) 66,000 kg (146,000 lb) 77,800 kg (172,000 lb)
Maximum Take-off
68,000 kg (150,000 lb)
75,500 kg (166,000 lb)
(NEO 75,500 kg (166,400 lb))
78,000 kg (172,000 lb)
(NEO 79,000 kg (174,200 lb))
93,500 kg (206,000 lb)
(NEO 97,000 kg (213,800 lb))
CFM International CFM56-5 series

CFM International CFM56-5 series
(NEO CFM International LEAP-1A or Pratt & Whitney PW1100G)

Pratt & Whitney PW6000 series

IAE V2500 series

Thrust x 2
96 to 106 kN (22,000 to 24,000 lbf)
98 to 120 kN (22,000 to 27,000 lbf)
(NEO 107 kN (24,100 lbf))
111 to 120 kN (25,000 to 27,000 lbf)
(NEO 120.6 kN (27,120 lbf))
133 to 147 kN (30,000 to 33,000 lbf)
(NEO 147.3 kN (33,110 lbf))

If there is more you want to learn about this airliner, please visit A320 Home, A320 AssemblyA320 Interior, A320 Order Book and A320 History.
We welcome your comment below, is there more we could be showing or are there topics you would like to see? Thank you.

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12 thoughts on “Airbus A320 Specs – What is behind one of the most popular short haul airliners?”

    • Hi Moleki,

      you’re absolutely right. Thank you for spotting that and pointing it out. We certainly want to ensure our data is correct and appreciate you picking that up. Enjoy the rest of your visit.

      Cheers Peter

    • Hi Carl,

      thank you for stopping by. Yes, you’re right, it seems the missing characters were in white. Thanks for letting us know.

      Cheers Peter

  1. Hi, do you have any references regarding the information on composite materials in the A320? Cheers, Marcus

  2. This comment relates to wing design of aircraft. Instead of designing wing as a pure cantilever, is it possible to introduce cable supports from top of the wing to an anchoring plate at top of fuselage.
    This structural design allows for a reduction in the weight of the wing and all other advantages that follow.

    • Hi Cawas,
      Thank you for your question.
      What you suggest has actually been employed in early aviation technology. Cables were used in pioneering aircraft to lend strength to wings to make up for low strength to weight ratios in early materials.
      The draw backs of using cables to add strength are aerodynamics and also the fact that the load of wings is directed upwards. Even aerodynamic shaping of cables would still add drag in the airflow. In addition the wings need to be pulled down which means the cables would need to be secured to a point below the fuselage, not above. This would possibly result in ground clearance issues requiring longer undercarriage, thereby nullifying any advantage.
      Thanks for the suggestion.
      Cheers Peter

  3. Thanks for the info. I work for a low cost airline which removes the buisness class seats for extra economy room increasing the PAX capacity to 180

    • Yes, the no frills economy configuration certainly enables more seats to be fitted, particularly as they also reduce the pitch. That is the space between seats, front to back. Some airlines are even looking at a more upright nearly standing up configuration. Scary.

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