Airbus has reached another milestone in its history. The European manufacturer delivered its 12,000th aircraft, an A220-100 to the airline Delta Air Lines. The model, as we know, is the CSeries created by Canadian Bombardier and renamed A220 when Airbus took over the project last year.

Despite this, the A220 is currently the aircraft with the lowest share of a total of 12,000 commercial jets. It represents only 0.6% of the volume of deliveries, less even than the A318, until then the Airbus plane that had least interested (only 80 units sold). But the former Bombardier jet is just beginning its career and will surely be among Airbus’ best-selling future in the face of the potential of this market.

The A320 family is largely responsible for Airbus reaching milestone, especially the initial model, which, with more than 5,300 aircraft delivered, is equivalent to almost 45% of deliveries in that period. Soon after are A321 (15.8%), A319 (12.3%) and A330, the manufacturer’s best-selling widebody to date with about 1,500 deliveries.

During the last test flight the pilots of the A220 drew in the skies the mark of 12,000 airplanes

Accelerated growth

Also contributing not so successful aircraft, among them the A310, second company airplane that was based on the pioneer A300. But it was the four-engine jets that most disappointed Airbus. The A340, launched in the early 1990s, even with four variants, has accumulated only 377 units delivered, even more than the 236 A380 jets, the largest aircraft ever built by the manufacturer and which had one of the last units sent to the customer, ANA.

Another model that should raise Airbus numbers is the A350, an advanced long-range jet that accumulated almost 900 orders in April 2019. But its production has only recently gained a good pace, so to date just over 260 aircraft have been completed.

For a manufacturer that took nearly 20 years to reach the thousandth plane delivered in 1993, reaching 12,000 jets 26 years later is impressive – the first aircraft delivered by Airbus was an A300-B2 for Air France in May 1974.

The first aircraft delivered by Airbus, an A300-B2 to Air France in 1974 (Airbus)

It was six years to reach 2,000 planes, three years to reach 3,000 jets and only eight years to double that volume. The milestone of 12,000 aircraft came only 30 months after reaching the 10,000 planes.

The region receiving most Airbus aircraft is Asia (with Oceania) with 27% of orders, followed by leasing companies that accounted for a quarter of deliveries. North America has 13% of the volume while Latin America ties with the Middle East with 5% participation – Africa completes the list with 2% (see infographic).

The most important dates in Airbus deliveries