Here’s Why Some Air India Airbus A320s Have Extra Wheels

There are many interesting tidbits in the aviation world. A while back, someone got a little curious about the landing gear on an Air India A320, as some of Air India’s Airbus A320 aircraft have a little addition to their landing gear. You may not notice it at first, but some of Air India’s Airbus A320s have extra wheels. Take a look:

Air India A320
Some of Air India’s A320 have additional wheels on their landing gear. Photo: Steven Byles via Flickr

These additional wheels do serve a purpose. As this user on Stack Exchange found out, this is because of an infrastructure-related issue at some Indian airports. However, these are not common across A320s and only affect a small number of Airbus A320 aircraft in service.

A320 landing gear

Obviously, the aircraft gear serves a critical role. The A320 is not the heaviest aircraft in the world, but it does still carry substantial weight. During landing, taxi, or takeoff, this can cause stress on the runway pavement. As it turns out, some of India’s pavements have a lower classification number. The classification number gives details relating to the strength of the pavement and the amount of weight it can handle. Due to this lower classification number, the load of the aircraft has to be distributed across multiple wheels. Thus, some of Air India’s A320s have an additional set of wheels.

For reference, here is what the normal landing gear looks like on another Air India Airbus A320neo.

Featured Video:

Air India
Not all of Air India’s Airbus A320s have extra wheels. Photo: Airbus

The newer A320s do not have extra wheels. This is because of infrastructure updates that have come over time. Stronger pavements can handle a heavier aircraft.

Do most A320s need extra wheels?

The answer is no. Few A320s actually have an extra set of wheels. Unlike widebodies, narrowbodies usually only have two main wheels. Furthermore, most modern-day airports are designed to handle aircraft like A320s.

Landing gear
Most aircraft do not require additional wheels. Photo: Tom Boon – Simple Flying

Nowadays, widebodies are the only aircraft to have more than two main landing wheels. Naturally, widebodies are far heavier than narrowbodies due to a larger structure and additional passenger capacity.

Overall

Most people probably do not realize how many wheels their plane has. Indeed, finding an Air India A320 (or any A320, really) with extra wheels can be a little treat for avgeeks. Although, you would have to travel pretty far to find these select aircraft. If you do travel on one of these planes, you probably will not notice much of a difference in the passenger experience.

Have you ever flown on an Air India A320 with extra wheels? Have you seen extra wheels on any other airline’s A320s? Let us know in the comments!

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Ranadeep

I’d fly many times on this type of 320. You right no difference noticed.

Gary

With the extra wheels.
When they are due for retirement this A320’s.
Would they be more useful as cargo aircraft?
Could they be able to carry more cargo than a normal A320 freighter?

Vedant Ganesh

I’ve done a domestic jaunt on the A320 with extra wheels, freaked me out completely 🤣

Roop kumar

The added wheels is bogi beam configuration have extra wheels and is preferred in places where the runways are unpawed or the length is shorter.

R Jolly

The extra pair of wheels make the aircraft a little heavier, and it, therefore, consumes somewhat more fuel as compared to an aircraft without the “bogie undercarriage”. I once read that Air India found it difficult to sell its old A320s with the extra wheels since there are not too many airlines that require this optional feature.

Armugam

It was only Indian Airlines (IA) A320s that came with 5 bogie wheel cobination (1 bogie in nose wheel and 2 each in each MLG). As said, it helped distribute load and made it possible for aircraft to use unpaved runways. But this made those A320s not just littel heavier but also expensive. Airbus has done away with such variations as all A320s come with 3 bogies currently.

Juaquin Comatose

Like really how much more expensive? Like cup holder in a Ferrari “more expensive” or added turbo in a Ferrari “more expensive”?

Phiroze Cama

More expensive like 6 or more Ferraris with cup holders and turbo charged.

Tom

They retired all of them.

Sim Kok Chwee

The A320s with the “extra wheels” were originally acquired by Indian Airlines. These are the only one with two four-wheel main landing gears (as opposed to having two two-wheel main landing gears for all other A320s). So in essence, these A320s with the “extra wheels” are a uniquely Indian oddity in the aviation annals.

Muthukumar Thyagarajan

The only reason when India Airlines ordered the aircraft in Sept 1985 the pavement load classification wasn’t adequate to support single bogey wheels. So they ordered with double bogey wheels. However by the time aircraft were delivered in 1989, the airport improvement program had them all improved. So they didn’t need the double bogey after all. Therefore the subsequent order were of standard single bogey wheels.