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Airbus hits A320 family production milestone
Airbus has reached a significant milestone with the delivery of its 10,000th A320 family aircraft.
The A321neo was delivered to Middle East Airlines (MEA) with the manufacturer serial number (MSN) 10,000. Every wing on these 10,000 aircraft has been assembled in the UK at Airbus’ production facility in Broughton.
MSN10,000 is the third A321neo to join the all-Airbus MEA fleet, taking its fleet size to 18 aircraft. MEA received its first A321neo aircraft earlier in 2020, and will be taking another six A321neos over the coming months.
Middle East Airlines also took on MSN5,000 in 2012, after 23 years of Airbus A320 family production. The next 5,000 aircraft took just another eight years to mark this significant MSN10,000 milestone – again with MEA.
The handover of the aircraft took place in Toulouse in the presence of Mohamad El-Hout, chairman and director general of MEA: “We are honoured to receive the state of the art A321neo with its distinctive serial number 10,000 coinciding with the 75th anniversary of Middle East Airlines, and especially after receiving MSN5,000 back in 2012.
“Since we first acquired an A320 family aircraft in 2003, we have not only benefited from the outstanding operational efficiency of the aircraft but were also the first airline to introduce the wide-body cabin product on a single-aisle aircraft which has become a trend in the airline industry afterwards.”
The airline’s A321neo is powered by Pratt & Whitney’s PurePower PW1100G-JM geared turbofan engines and is configured in a two-class layout with 28 seats in business and 132 seats in economy class. Incorporating the latest engines, aerodynamic advances, and cabin innovations, the A321neo offers a reduction in fuel consumption of 20% as well as a 50% noise reduction.
Christian Scherer, chief commercial officer for Airbus, said: “Airbus is proud to continue building its long-standing partnership with Middle East Airlines which already operates one of the most modern Airbus fleets in the world.
“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.”
Airbus Broughton employee Brian Hopwood, 59, from Buckley, has particular reason to be proud of the 10,000 milestone, as he was also an operator on MSN001. He is currently process manager in the single aisle jigs having worked for the company in a number of roles for more than 40 years.
“It’s always exciting working on something new and that was the case with the MSN001. In those early days, the work was done in much smaller teams. A six-man team did everything on the top skin [wing cover] and we only had three jigs to start with – there are 19 now.
“I also recall that we were the team that took ‘number one’ off the jig during our night shift. We did it to make sure it would come off smoothly for when the dignitaries were assembled for the official photos later on! That was a proud moment but if someone told me then that we would reach a rate of 50 or more a month I wouldn’t have believed it. It’s mind-boggling how successful the A320 family has been.”
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