It’s just a number, but nevertheless a milestone to Airbus: the delivery of its 12.000th airliner. Not from its home territory in Europe, but from the Airbus Canada factory in Mirabel that became part of the global OEM only last year.
The 12.000th is the 12th A220-100 for Delta, handed over during a low-profile ceremony.
With most aviation journalists on there way to Toulouse for the Airbus Innovation Days on Tuesday/Wednesday, Airbus provided media with a picture of their own.
The milestone comes in the year that Airbus becomes 50. It delivered the first airliner in May 1974, an A300-B2 to Air France.
It took 19 years to reach the 1000th in March 1993, with Air France again taking the historic delivery of an A340-300.
An identical aircraft for Lufthansa was number 2000 in May 1999. Just over three years later in July 2002, Jetblue got the 3000th: an A320.
As production was optimized and more types joined the family, the milestone intervals became shorter: #4000 in September 2005 (Lufthansa A330-300), #5000 in December 2007 (A330-200 to Qantas).
Emirates A380 A6-EDH was the 6000th in January 2010 and the only doubledecker listed as milestone-delivery.
The 7000th to leave the factory was an A321 for US Airways in December 2011. Air Asia received #8000 in August 2013, one of its many A320s. The 9000th took two more years to be delivered: an A321 for VietJet in March 2015.
Singapore Airlines received the 10.000th Airbus in October 2016 when it took delivery of an A350-900.
Within 18 months, #11.000 left the factory in March 2018 as an A320 to Frontier.
The 12.000th is actually long overdue, as production issues hit A320neo’s, A350s and A330neo’s for the last two years and caused many delays.
Never making it as milestones were the A300-600, A310, A319, A340-200, while the neo’s and A350-1000 still have a chance to shine.
By the end of April, Airbus had booked 19.282 sales and had a backlog of 10.926.
Active as a journalist since 1987, with a background in newspapers, magazines, and a regional news station, Richard has been covering commercial aviation on a freelance basis since late 2016.
Richard is contributing to AirInsight since December 2018. He also writes for Airliner World, Aviation News, Piloot & Vliegtuig, and Luchtvaartnieuws Magazine. Twitter: @rschuur_aero.