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File: Airbus A320
The Airbus A320 family consists of short- to medium-range, narrow-body, commercial passenger jet airliners manufactured by Airbus Industrie.
The family includes the A318, A319, A320 and A321, and the ACJ business jet. Final assembly of the family in Europe takes place in Toulouse, France, and Hamburg, Germany. Since 2009, a plant in Tianjin in the People's Republic of China has also started producing aircraft for Chinese airlines. The aircraft family can accommodate up to 220 passengers and has a range of 3,100 to 12,000 km (1,700 to 6,500 nmi), depending on model.
The first member of the A320 family—the A320—was launched in March 1984, first flew on 22 February 1987, and was first delivered in 1988. The family was soon extended to include the A321 (first delivered 1994), the A319 (1996), and the A318 (2003). The A320 family pioneered the use of digital fly-by-wire flight control systems, as well as side-stick controls, in commercial aircraft. There has been a continuous improvement process since introduction.
On 1 December 2010, Airbus officially launched the new generation of the A320 family with the A320neo "New Engine Option". Offering a choice of the CFM International LEAP-X or Pratt & Whitney PW1000G, combined with airframe improvements and the addition of Sharklets, the aircraft will deliver fuel savings of up to 15%. Virgin America will be the launch customer for the aircraft in spring of 2016. As of 31 December 2011, a total of 1,196 A320neo family aircraft have been ordered by 21 airlines making it the fastest ever selling commercial aircraft.
As of October 2011, a total of 4,858 Airbus A320 family aircraft have been delivered, of which 4,765 are in service. In addition, another 3,255 airliners are on firm order. It ranked as the world's fastest-selling jet airliner family according to records from 2005 to 2007, and as the best-selling single-generation aircraft programme. The family's direct competitors are the Boeing 737, 717 and 757.
The baseline A320 has given rise to a family of aircraft which share a common design but with passenger capacity ranges from 100, on the A318, to 220, on the A321. They compete with the Boeing 737, 757–200, and 717. Because the four variants share the same flight deck, all have the same pilot type rating. Today all variants are available as corporate jets. US Airways is the largest airline operator of A320 family of aircraft in North America with 232 as of January 2011.
Technically, the name "A320" only refers to the original mid-sized aircraft, but it is often informally used to indicate any of the A318/A319/A320/A321 family. All variants are able to be ETOPS (Extended-range Twin-engine Operational Performance Standards) certified.
The A320 series has two variants, the A320-100 and A320-200. Only 21 A320-100s were ever produced; these aircraft, the first to be manufactured, were delivered only to Air Inter (later acquired by Air France) and British Airways (as a result of an order from British Caledonian Airways made prior to its acquisition by British Airways). The A320-200 features wingtip fences and increased fuel capacity over the A320-100, resulting in increased range; otherwise differences are minimal. Indian Airlines used their first 31 A320-200s with double-bogie main landing gear for airfields with poor runway condition which a single-bogey main gear couldn't manage. Typical range with 150 passengers for the A320-200 is about 3,300 nautical miles (6,150 km). It is powered by two CFMI CFM56-5s or IAE V2500s with thrust ratings between 113 to 120 kN (25,400 to 27,000 lbf). The lowest speed an A320 can fly is approximately 207 km/h.
A total of 2,860 of the A320 model have been delivered, with 2,752 still on orders as of 31 December 2011. The direct Boeing competitor is the 737-800.