Overall, the A320 registered just 0.14 fatal accidents per million takeoffs, according to a Boeing safety analysis published last year.
Paris: The Airbus A320, the model of the EgyptAir plane that crashed in the Mediterranean today, is one of the most common planes in service around the world today.
Some key facts about it: Similar to the Boeing 737, the single-aisle, twin-engine jet is used to connect cities that are between one and five hours apart. The A320 is generally considered one of the safest passenger planes in service. Airbus says it has had 11 crashes with fatalities, on top of the Germanwings plane deliberately brought down by co-pilot Andreas Lubitz in March 2015. Overall, the A320 registered just 0.14 fatal accidents per million takeoffs, according to a Boeing safety analysis published last year.
– The first A320 entered service in 1988.
– There are nearly 4,000 A320s in operation worldwide.
– Airbus, a European plane-making group based in Toulouse, France, also makes nearly identical versions of the A320: the smaller A318 and A319 and the stretched A321.
The entire fleet has accumulated nearly 180 million flight hours in over 98 million flights.
The plane is certified to fly up to 39,000 feet, its maximum altitude before its rate of climb begins to erode. The plane has an absolute flight limit of 42,000 feet.
In December 2014, an Airbus A320 operated by AirAsia Indonesia crashed into the Java Sea en route from Surabaya, Indonesia to Singapore. All 162 people on board Flight QZ8501 were killed.
“The A320 has a fantastic safety record,” said Phil Seymour, the president of the International Bureau of Aviation. “There have been a couple of incidents, but generally speaking, they’re safer than most aircraft out there now.”
“Airlines would usually consider retiring an aircraft at the 25-30 years point because maintenance costs increase beyond that.
“These things fly day-in and day-out and are designed to go on and on. Airlines usually only decide to retire them because maybe there’s a younger aircraft that doesn’t use as much fuel and doesn’t cost so much to run.”
The A320 is a twin engine single aisle aircraft seating 150 passengers in a standard two classes configuration. The first A320 entered service in March 1988. By the end of February 2015 nearly 6,200 A320 Family aircraft were in operation worldwide. To date, the entire fleet has accumulated some 150 million flight hours in over 85 million flights.