It should be no surprise that when Airbus delivered the 8,000th A320-family aircraft off the production line on 1 February, the customer was an airline from the Asia-Pacific region.

For, as the chart below shows, that region has had the greatest appetite for Airbus's single-aisle products over the 30 years of production, with a 36% share of all deliveries (based on end-operator, rather than customer). Flight Fleets Analyzer shows that Europe – Airbus's "home" market – comes a close second with a 31% share while North America trails in third on 18%.


Flight Fleets Analyzer shows the 8,000th A320-family aircraft (MSN8000), a Pratt & Whitney PW1100G-powered A320neo (B-1068), was delivered on 1 February to Air China (below). The aircraft was assembled on Airbus's line in Tianjin, China, from where 355 A320-family aircraft have been delivered since its inauguration in 2008.

A320neo Air China-8000-c-Airbus-640


The importance that the Asia-Pacific market has gained – supporting Airbus's strategy to establish a local assembly line – can be illustrated with a look back in time.

Less than a decade ago when Airbus delivered its 4,000 single-aisle in September 2009, Europe was the biggest A320-family market with an almost 40% delivery share. Asia-Pacific was languishing down at around a quarter share, on a par with North America.

Although Chinese carriers represent two of the top three A320-family recipients in delivery numbers, Flight Fleets Analyzer shows that Europe's EasyJet heads the rankings on 315 units.

From an individual type perspective, Airbus's baseline and original single-aisle – the 150-seat A320 – is head-and-shoulders above the rest in the popularity stakes. Since the first-ever A320 handover, to Air France in March 1988, Airbus has delivered over 4,800 more, representing 60% of all production.


The A321 stretch is second in the rankings, on a 21% share – just ahead of the A319 shrink, which accounts for 18% of all deliveries. The A318, which had a troubled birth amid engine development problems, never achieved the potential Airbus originally expected. Just 80 units were shipped before production ended.

As of 31 January, total A320-family orders stood at 14,135 aircraft. Of the 6,135 aircraft on backlog, the A320 remains the most popular, with a 65% share.

Over the three decades of A320 family production, CFM International – which was the original engine supplier – has gone on to power well over half (57%) of the 8,000 aircraft delivered.

IAE – the joint-venture consortium originally led by Pratt & Whitney and Rolls-Royce – accounts for 41% of deliveries.

P&W is now the majority shareholder in IAE, following Rolls-Royce's withdrawal. Although it has only powered around 130 of the A320-family deliveries to date (including 15 PW6000-powered A318s), it is the sole rival to CFM on the A320neo, with its PW1100G geared turbofan.

Airbus's 8,000th single-aisle milestone comes just weeks before Boeing will celebrate the 737's "10k" delivery, putting Toulouse some 2,000 units behind its US rival. When Airbus delivered its first A320 in March 1988, 737 deliveries stood at around 1,500.

Boeing's delivery achievement comes just over half a century after the first 737 was handed over to Lufthansa in December 1967. Based on current production-rate projections, Airbus should reach 10,000 single-aisle deliveries during 2021 – or after around 33 years. The question is: will Boeing by then have moved on to an all-new competitor in the shape of its New Mid-market Airplane?

Source: Cirium Dashboard