Airbus has today sent MSN 10000 on its way to its customer. This landmark aircraft, an A321neo, is heading to Beirut to begin its service life with MEA. It is the 10,000th numbered aircraft from the A320 family line, and as such, is cause for celebrations at Airbus.
MSN 10000 has left Toulouse
Airbus is quietly celebrating the departure of a landmark aircraft today. MSN 10000, the 10,000th A320 family aircraft, is on its way to Lebanese airline MEA. It will be the third A321neo to join the airline’s fleet and serves as a mark of just how popular Airbus’ A320 family of aircraft is.
Interestingly, in 2012, Airbus also delivered its 5,000th A320 family aircraft to MEA. It became the seventh A320 to join the carrier’s fleet.
Boeing delivered its 10,000th 737 in 2018, with Southwest Airlines the recipient of the landmark plane, in this case, a 737 MAX 8. The milestone earned Boeing a place in the Guinness World Records for the most produced commercial jet aircraft model. It’s an outstanding achievement, but one which took Boeing more than 50 years to reach.
In comparison, Airbus’ 10,000th A320 family aircraft has only been in production since 1987, meaning it has achieved the same milestone in just over 30 years.
However, it should be noted that this is not the 10,000th A320 to enter service. According to Airbus’ most recent orders and deliveries report, dated August 31st, 9,486 A320 family aircraft had been delivered. That number has likely gone up by a bit, but not significantly.
There may be several built but not delivered A320 family aircraft that Airbus cannot bestow upon its customers. This could be due to travel restrictions making it impossible for them to be picked up, or because airlines are realigning delivery schedules as a result of the crisis. Nevertheless, seeing MSN 10000 delivered to its customer is good cause for celebration.
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On its way to Beirut
The A321neo, sporting its new registration T7-ME3, departed Toulouse at just after 13:00 local time today. It will take approximately 3 hours and 45 minutes to cover the 2,349 km to Beirut and is currently estimated to arrive at 17:49 this afternoon.
It’s flying under a sweet flight number – ME321 – undoubtedly a nod to the type of aircraft being flown. Interestingly, MEA has flown each of its A321s to Beirut under the same flight number, with both T7-ME2 and T7-ME1 delivered from Hamburg with that callsign.
The previous two A321s were delivered on July 10th and July 30th, bringing its fleet of the largest neos to three. Altogether, MEA has ordered 15 A321neos, four of which will be the forthcoming A321XLR, for which MEA is pegged to be the launch customer. While the XLR won’t be delivered until 2023, MEA was keen to get its hands on the A321neos as fast as possible.
In October last year, FlightGlobal reported that the airline had pushed for faster delivery of its A321neos from Airbus. At the time, it had realigned its delivery schedule to take nine by the end of 2020, with the remaining two coming in 2021.
— Tobi (@Tobias_Gudat) October 5, 2020
While that could be a decision that the airline lives to regret, knowing what we know now about 2020, it’s likely too late to press pause at this stage. Indeed, spotters at Hamburg have identified several future A321neos in various states of assembly, all the way up to T7-ME8.
— Tobi (@Tobias_Gudat) September 28, 2020
What’s inside the A321neo?
MEA’s A321neos will arrive fitted with the Recaro CL3710 and CL5710 seats. The CL3710 is a comfortable long-haul economy class seat, with a six-way adjustable headrest. It’s super lightweight, so will allow MEA to maximize the fuel efficiency of its neos.
The CL5710 is a decent enough business class seat, with lumbar support and power controls. It doesn’t go fully flat, and will be arranged in a 2-2 layout, but for a narrowbody business class, it’s not too bad.
MEA will be delighted to be the delivery customer of Airbus’ landmark MSN 10000 aircraft. Let’s hope to see it being put to good use soon.