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The booming international commercial aviation sector continues to be a bright light leading the future of the aerospace industry.

Production of the A350XWB is ramping up toward 10 each month to help reduce the backlog of over 800 aircraft yet to be delivered. Using five development aircraft, the A350XWB program has been a smooth one for Airbus, with only minor delays regarding entry into services. The schedule called for this to take place in 2014 and it was achieved.

Shown is the budget economy class interior of an Airbus A380 (top), and the premium economy class interior (bottom).
The popularity of the narrow body A320 family also shows no sign of slackening and new models continue to emerge. The earliest A320s are now 27 years old and many long-time operators are replacing these models with the latest versions. Total sales of the standard A320 family have reached 7679 as of the end of April 2015. Improvements to cabin arrangements have seen maximum passenger capacity on the A320 rise to 188 in a high-density configuration, designed for low-cost and charter operations, and this is being adopted by EasyJet, which has recently taken delivery of its 250th A320 family member.

The smaller A319 and larger A321 cater to varying customer range and payload requirements, allowing an optimized solution for their service route needs with high operational commonality across the family.

The new A320neo models feature a choice of the latest generation CFM LEAP 1A or P&W Pure Power engines and numerous other changes and improvements. Compared to the earlier A320s, the neo models offer a 20% saving in fuel burn per seat, lower noise and emissions levels, double the payload and an additional 500-nmi range improvement. Wingtip-mounted composite “sharklets” improve fuel consumption per passenger by up to 4%, and can be retrofitted to existing A320s as well as featured on new deliveries and neo models.

Airbus's 9000th delivery cumulative orders chart.
In January 2015 Airbus announced the launch of a long-range A321, which would offer 4000-nmi non-stop transatlantic range capability, opening up new markets for the narrow-body jetliner and a possible replacement for current Boeing 757s.

The first PW1100G-powered development A320neo aircraft flew in September 2014 and the first LEAP-1A-powered A320neo just had its first flight this past May, yet already total sales have reached over 3620 from 60 customers and first deliveries are expected before the end of this year. Airbus has said it will raise monthly production to 50 by 2017 and may even take this up to 60 if demand continues at present levels.

Sales Go Up, Up, and Away

The new 777X will build on the 777 and will include new engines, an all-new composite wing and will leverage technologies from the 787 Dreamliner.
The A380, the largest commercial jetliner in production, has been in the air for ten years and to date 317 aircraft have been ordered and 159 delivered. The hoped-for one-for-one replacement of the world’s jumbo-jet fleets hasn’t happened, as most long-haul operators have chosen to replace the four-jet 747 with the twinjet 777, the extended capacity 777-300ER being particularly successful. However, on main-line routes that combine the need for high capacity and long range, the Airbus A380 is in a class of its own. The aircraft remains the only commercial jet with two full-length widebody passenger cabins offering a huge range of optional seat and class layouts.

Typically the A380 can carry 544 passengers in a four-class layout (first, business, premium economy, and economy) but in an all-economy high-density layout it can carry up to 853 passengers. The ultra-spacious cabin interior allows airlines to offer passengers more internal volume than any other commercial jet and this can include lounge and bar areas, wider economy seats, and specialized first class luxury facilities, including individual cabins and even bedroom suites.