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Fri, Jan 26, 2007

Airbus A320 Family Passes 5,000-Order Mark On Spirit Order

Last Two Years Have Been VERY Good To Narrowbody Twinjet

European planemaker Airbus has reached a significant landmark -- recently earning its 5,000th order for an A320-family aircraft.

In the last two years alone, the A320 Family has received orders for around 1,600 aircraft, making it not only the best-selling but also the fastest-selling jet airliner of all time. The 5,000th order was reached with the sale of 30 A319 aircraft to US-based customer Spirit Airlines.

(Editor's Note: An alert ANN reader pointed out Boeing also claims the "best-selling title" for its 737 narrowbody, which has been in production some 20 years longer than the A320. In its claim, Airbus considers today's 'Next Generation' 737 a separate airliner from the earlier, "Classic" series 737s. The entire 737 family has over 6,100 orders.)

"The 5,000th order of our A320 aircraft family marks an historic milestone for Airbus and the aviation industry", commented Airbus Chief Executive Officer, Louis Gallois. "The A320 is without a doubt the world's most popular passenger aircraft, having outsold any other single-generation aircraft program. In addition, the program goes from strength to strength, with the continuing high level of orders giving Airbus an unprecedented backlog of more than 2,000 single-aisle aircraft. It will fill our production lines for many years to come."

To match the strong demand for its A320 Family, Airbus has decided to implement a steady production ramp-up. The monthly production rate was increased from 30 aircraft per month at the end of 2006, to its current rate of 32 per month and is scheduled to rise to 36 by the end of 2008. This will represent the highest production rate ever for any commercial airliner.

Airbus touts the A320 family as the most modern design of any single-aisle aircraft, and the most economical aircraft in its class. With the widest cabin in its class, the A320 Family also offers passengers more space, comfort and overhead stowage volume than Boeing's 737.

Unique in its class, the Airbus A320 Family also delivers many features as standard -- such as a weight-saving composite primary structure, a choice of engines and auxiliary power units, and a fuel-saving aerodynamic design. The A320 was the first airliner to have fly-by-wire controls, giving the highest degree of operational commonality both within the A320 Family and with other Airbus fly-by-wire types. This gives airlines greater flexibility in pilot scheduling, helping them to achieve greater productivity and cost savings.

Firm orders for Airbus single-aisle aircraft now stand at 5,016 aircraft. The Airbus A320 Family has been ordered by, or is in service with, more than 200 customers and operators worldwide and has completed 30 million flight cycles and 50 million flight hours.

FMI: www.airbus.com

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