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French giant hopes to win air supremacy battle

Developed as a rival to the Boeing 737 and introduced in 1988, the A320 line is, in the words of its manufacturer, "The undisputed best-selling aircraft product of all time."

Developed as a rival to the Boeing 737 and introduced in 1988, the A320 line is, in the words of its manufacturer, "The undisputed best-selling aircraft product of all time."

That claim is based on the rate of purchases since the A320 entered service in 1988, whereas Boeing's claim to that title, on behalf of its 737, launched in 1968, is based on the total number of aircraft bought. Boeing describes the 737 range as, "The best-selling commercial jet in history."

The A320 can carry 180 passengers if there is only economy-class seating, and about 150 if there are business and economy classes.

More than 5,100 aircraft from the A320 range have been delivered to airlines, compared with about 7,100 Boeing 737s.

A further 3,000 or so A320 range aircraft are on order. Included in the order book are 1,320 orders for the updated A320neo model, which the Tianjin plant is due to assemble.

The A320neo has new engines and "sharklet" wing tips that improve air flow and so reduce fuel consumption - by 15 per cent.

Boeing also has an improved 737 in the pipeline, known as the 737 MAX, to compete with it.

The other models in the A320 range are the A318, A319 and the A321, with Airbus looking to increase total production worldwide of all variants to 42 a month.

Prices range from an average of US$67.7 million (Dh248.6m) for the 100-seat A318 to $113.3m for the A321neo, the new version of the largest aircraft in the range.

business@thenational.ae

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