The Airbus A320 series is quickly becoming the most popular commercial aircraft series in the world, especially desired in countries where pilots get minimal training before transitioning to airlines as the Fly-By-Wire design is full of fail safes that make these aircraft much easier and more forgiving to fly than traditional airliners. The A320 series is a joint venture between France and Germany, and the first example of the revolutionary airliner was put into service by Air France in 1988. At the time, the aircraft was much more advanced than any other aircraft, and flew entirely differently, with the plane constantly automatically trimming itself and equalizing itself in turns so the pilot simply controls roll rate and pitch instead of traditionally flying the aircraft. Other early operators included Lufthansa and Air Inter, while Pan Am was due to be the first US operator of the type but ended up forfeiting the aircraft to Braniff due to Pan Am's impending collapse. The stretched A321 provided a much greater capacity and was first introduced by Lufthansa in 1994. This aircraft was followed by the A319, which was smaller than the A320 and first introduced by Swissair in 1997. Airbus further shrunk the A318 and built a larger tail to stabilize the shorter fuselage, and this type was first delivered to Frontier Airlines in 2003. As the A318 offered very similar economics to the A319 but had less seats for sale, Frontier quickly found the it's A318 fleet more valuable as spare parts for it's A319 fleet than as active aircraft. Frontier retired all 11 of it's examples between 2010 and 2013, just 7-10 years after delivery, and most other customers also prematurely retired these aircraft. The VIP version of the A318, dubbed the ACJ318 (or "Airbus Corporate Jet", was much more popular and most active examples exist in this role. Airbus revived the A320 series with the A320NEO (New Engine Order) series, which featured the same cockpit for commonality but with new quiet and efficient engines and improved range. The new type saw the standard A320 rebranded as the A320CEO (Current Engine Order). Lufthansa introduced the A320NEO into service at the start of 2016, and the A321NEO, capable of such range that WOW Air would later operate the type non-stop from Iceland to San Francisco and Los Angeles, was introduced by Virgin America in 2017 (though the first example was delivered to ANA). 2 extra-range variants of the A321NEO, dubbed the A321XR and A321LR, capable of flights as far away as Hawaii to Japan and Boston to Lima with the XR having slightly increased range over the LR variant. The A321LR was introduced by Arkia in 2018 and the A321XR introduced by jetBlue in 2021 for their new service to London. Based on current orders, the Airbus A320 family is projected to surpass the Boeing 737 family as the world's best selling commercial jet in the future.
Currently, the following realistic add-ons are available for this aircraft:
FlyByWire Simulations A320NEO: Microsoft Flight Simulator (Free major update to the default A320 but not 100% functional)
Fenix Simulations A320CEO: Microsoft Flight Simulator (coming soon, top quality)
FSLabs A320CEO: Prepar3Dv1-5/Microsoft Flight Simulator X
FSLabs A320NEO: Prepar3Dv4/5 (required FSLabs A320CEO, message page and request "merge")
Aerosoft Airbus A320CEO/NEO: Prepar3Dv1-5/Microsoft Flight Simulator X
Flightfactor A320: X-Plane