The Airbus A320 turns 25!

The early days of the A320

An artist's impression of the A320 Neo

Credit: Air Team Images/Keith Blincow
  Credit: Airbus

An important aviation anniversary is being celebrated today: the aircraft type we once called “the greatest civil aviation of all times” made its maiden flight 25 years to date…

Happy Birthday A320!.

Since that 22nd March of 1987 when it first took to the skies, the Airbus A320 has reached some impressive milestones, it has grown a considerable family of its own, stretching from the smaller A318 and A319 to the larger A321, and has managed to become the backbone of many airline fleets across the globe.

The A320 presented a number of features that, at the time, were revolutionary in commercial aircraft, such as digital fly-by-wire flight control systems and side stick controls. This forced the rest of the industry to follow suit in order to keep pace and while Boeing came up with its arch-rival, the Boeing 737 Next Generation, while McDonnell Douglas narrow-bodies went into a commercial decline from which they will never recover.

The A320 entered regular service on 28th March 1988 with Air France as its first operator and it has since proved immensely popular with airlines. In 25 years the A320 family has racked more than 8,300 orders, with nearly 5,000 delivered and in service, by far Airbus’ most successful aircraft programme.

But success does not necessarily mean complacency: Airbus has started started work on the A320 Neo (that stand for “New Engine Option”), a re-engined version of the A320 that promises to deliver significant fuel efficiency improvements. The A320 Neo has been a resounding commercial success so far…with well nearly 1,200 orders in its first year after launch, the great Airbus classic, the A320, will keep its position as the airline industry workhorse for many more years…

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