The amazing story of how the Airbus A320 family became the Boeing 737’s greatest foe

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The Airbus A320 is one of the most popular airliners in the world.

It’s also Europe’s answer to Boeing’s stalwart 737, still the best selling airliner of all time. However, the A320 is quickly catching up.

Through the end of August, Boeing has sold a whopping 14,956 737s. The A320 and its derivatives are close behind with 14,281 orders. However, it should be noted that Boeing began selling the 737 nearly two decades before the A320’s launch in 1984.

Since then, the European jetliner has actually outpaced the venerable Boeing in sales. From 1984 to the present, the A320 has outsold the 737 by 438 planes.

The A320’s sales prowess is not the aircraft’s only claim to fame. At the time of its debut, the narrow-body Airbus was also one of the most complex and innovative airliners ever attempted.

In an interview with Business Insider, Teal Group aviation industry analyst Richard Aboulafia called the A320 and its many technological innovations “Airbus’s greatest contribution to commercial aviation.”

The A320 helped push forward the adoption of fly-by-wire technology, side-stick controls, and cockpit commonality in commercial airliners.

Since its first flight in 1987, the A320 family has become a short and medium-haul workhorse for airlines around the world. With the introduction of the next generation A320neo and A321neo, the aircraft can now add trans-Atlantic long-haul to its long repertoire of capabilities.

The list prices for the A320 family of jets range from $77.4 million for the A318ceo to $129.5 million for the A321neo. The A320 lists for $101 million while the A320neo has a $110.6 million entry price.

Here’s a look back at how the Airbus A320 came to become to the Boeing 737’s greatest foe.

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