8/25/1995: Maiden Flight of the Airbus A319

8/25/1995: Maiden Flight of the Airbus A319

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DALLAS — The Airbus A319ceo took to the skies for the first time today, in 1995. The flight departed the manufacturer’s Hamburg-Finkenwerder (XFW) facility and lasted three hours and 50 minutes.

In command was Airbus Test Pilot Udo Günzel, joined by Claude Lelaie, Vice President Flight Division, Flight Test Engineers Fernando Alonso and Manfred Birnfield, and Flight Engineer Gérard Desbois.

Swissair became the first operator of the A319 in April 1996. Photo: Aero Icarus from Zürich, SwitzerlandCC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons.

“Behaved Perfectly”

Following the flight, Captain Günzel said: “The A319 behaved perfectly on its first flight and confirmed the high standard of Airbus Industrie technology. We all felt very familiar and comfortable flying it, due to its extensive commonality and similarity with the other members of the family.”

The A319 is part of the European planemaker’s A320 family. Launched at the 1993 Paris Air Show, the shortened version of the A320 was developed as a direct competitor to the Boeing 737-300 and 700. It carries between 124 and 156 passengers in a two-class configuration or 156 in a high-density layout popular with low-cost airlines.

easyJet has operated a total of 172 Airbus A319s since introducing the type in 2004. Photo: Julian Schöpfer/Airways.

Service Entry

French domestic carrier Air Inter (IT) was the first to commit to the type when it placed an order for six in February 1994. It entered service with Swissair (SR) in April 1996.

Airbus announced the A319neo (new engine option) in December 2010. The variant took to the skies for the first time on March 31, 2017. In February 2022, Airbus delivered the maiden example to launch customer China Southern (CZ)

By November 2021, a total of 1,488 A319s had been delivered. The world’s largest operator was once easyJet (U2), but this title now belongs to American Airlines (AA), which had 133 of the type in its fleet.

Featured Image: The Airbus A319 was introduced to compete with the Boeing 737-300/700. Photo: Airbus

European Deputy Editor
Writer, aviation fanatic, and Airways European Deputy Editor, Lee is a plant geek and part-time Flight Attendant for a UK-based airline. Based in Liverpool, United Kingdom.

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