Less than two years after eclipsing the 6,000-delivery milestone, plane maker Airbus reached a new production benchmark on December 12 with the handover of the company’s 7,000th jetliner.
This latest milestone aircraft was a single-aisle A321 for US Airways of the United States, which operates the world’s largest fleet of Airbus jetliners – to consist of 93 A319s, 72 A320s, 63 A321s and 16 A330s by years’ end, with firm orders for an additional 58 A320 Family airliners, eight A330s and 22 next-generation A350 XWBs.
The 7,000th delivery was an appropriate tribute to the global appeal of Airbus’ best-selling A320 Family – of which more than 4,900 jetliners have been provided from the over 8,250 ordered by 340-plus customers around the globe.
Overall, Airbus’ production output has been increasing since the company handed over its very first aircraft in May 1974: an A300B2. In March 1993, the 1,000th delivery landmark occurred with an A340-300, followed by the 2,000th handover in May 1999 – which also was an A340-300.
Underscoring its rapid growth with an expanded aircraft family, the 3,000th Airbus aircraft delivery was an A320 provided in July 2002, while only three years later – in September 2005 – an A330-300 became the 4,000th aircraft supplied to a customer.
Just two years afterward, the 5,000th milestone was achieved in December 2007 with an A330-200. The 6,000th delivery in January 2010 – involving an A380 – further confirmed the company’s continued leading role as a provider of highly efficient aircraft to airline operators and customers around the world.
For the 7,000th jetliner handover in December 2011, the aircraft was an A321 provided to United States-based US Airways – which is one of Airbus’ biggest single airline clients, and also has the distinction of flying the largest A320 Family inventory of any carrier.