Airbus marked a significant milestone this week when it handed over its 10,000th A320 family aircraft to Middle East Airlines.
The A321neo with manufacturer serial number (MSN) 10,000 took MEA’s fleet to 18 aircraft and coincided with the airline’s 75th anniversary.
MEA, which also took delivery of the 5000th A320 family aircraft in 2012, was unable to celebrate the delivery of the aircraft in Beirut because of the crisis in Lebanon but chairman Mohamad El Hout described the milestone as “a ray of light, hope and motivation to surpass our nation’s difficulties”.
It took Airbus 23 years of A320 family production to reach the first 5000 aircraft and just eight years to reach the next 5000.
The manufacturer attributed this to the advancement in its production capabilities as well as the popularity of the more efficient, re-engined neo members of the family.
“Delivering MSN10,000 is a milestone that demonstrates the success of the A320 Family and we thank our customers globally for their confidence in our products,” said Airbus chief commercial officer Christian Scherer.
MSN 10,000 is MEA’s third A321neo and it will be taking another six in the coming months. It comes as Airbus said its September deliveries were the highest during the pandemic as it battled to keep its factories running. It delivered 57 jets for the month compared with 39 in August.
The plane is powered by Pratt & Whitney’s PurePower PW1100G-JM geared turbofan engines and is configured in a comfortable two-class layout with 28 seats in business and 132 seats in economy class.
It is also equipped with the latest generation in-flight entertainment system and high-speed connectivity.
Incorporating the latest engines, aerodynamic advances, and cabin innovations, the A321neo offers a reduction in fuel consumption of 20 percent as well as a 50 percent noise reduction.