Production of the 4,000th Airbus single-aisle aircraft - an A319 - is under way at plants around Europe. The centre fuselage is pictured during assembly at Airbus's Finkenwerder plant in Hamburg.

The aircraft, A319 MSN4000, an International Aero Engines V2500-powered version, is due to be delivered to TAM in July. It will mark an important milestone as Airbus believes A320 family production could eventually exceed at least 8,000 aircraft. "We may only be halfway through this programme," says A320 product marketing director Stuart Mann.

4000th A320
 © Max Kingsley-Jones/Flight International

When Airbus launched the A320 in 1984, long-term demand for the twinjet was put at around 750 aircraft - a target it exceeded in 1991. The airframer delivered the first A320 in 1988 with the 1,000th aircraft following just over a decade later in 1999.

The current order backlog exceeds 2,460 aircraft and last year Airbus forecast that it expects that the 8,000th airframe could be delivered in around 2018.

"The only thing certain about forecasts," says Airbus's chief salesman John Leahy, "is that they're going to be wrong."

4000th A320
©  Max Kingsley-Jones/Flight International

Source: Flight International