The A319 and the A320 are members of the Airbus A320 family which comprises the A318, A319, A320, and A321. The A320 family has become one of the world’s most successful commercial aircraft series. The size of each aircraft in this family increases in line with the aircraft version name, so the A318 is the shortest, and the A321 is the longest.
The A320 first started flying in airline fleets in 1988, the shorter A319 didn’t follow for another eight years. Both the original A320ceo and the A319ceo are now available with more efficient new engine options (neo).
In this article, I’ll briefly chart the histories of these two similar aircraft variants, and then compare these from three main perspectives – physical characteristics (dimensions, MTOW, seating capacity), commercial success in terms of numbers of orders, and performance (range).
The Airbus A320 narrow-body twinjet family first flew commercially in 1988.
The A319 is a shortened-fuselage variant of the Airbus A320. It entered service in April 1996, eight years after the original A320. All A320 family members share a common type rating allowing A320 family pilots to fly all aircraft within the family without the need for further training.
In December 2010, Airbus announced the A320neo (new engine option), which entered service in 2016. With more efficient engines and other efficiency improvements, including wing sharklets, the A320neo provides improved fuel economy.
With the introduction of the neo versions of the A320 family aircraft, older versions became known as the ceo (current engine option). The new engine technology available on the neo aircraft with its improved fuel efficiency provides airlines with lower operating costs and increased range. The neo engines are also quieter, improving travel comfort in the aircraft cabin.
|Aircraft Model||First In Service|
The first A320 aircraft to be manufactured were classified as A320-100s. Only around twenty A320-100s were produced before Airbus began to roll out A320-200s. The A320-200 offered increased fuel capacity and increased range compared to the A320-100. That was partially achieved through the addition of wingtip fences.
The neo version of the A320 started working commercially in 2016. This variant provides two advanced engine choices – CFM International’s LEAP-1A and Pratt & Whitney’s PurePower PW1100G-JM geared turbofan, and fuel-saving sharklets on the wingtips. These improvements, along with increased seating density, bring per-seat fuel improvements of around 20%.
The A319 is 3.73m shorter than the A320 and first entered commercial service in 1996.
There’s also a long-range version of the A319 that was developed from the A319CJ corporate jet version. This subvariant first entered service in 2003 with Qatar Airways. The A319LR is quite a niche product and suited to longer-range, thinner routes that can sustain a high proportion of premium cabin seating.
The A319neo is the new kid on the block and only first entered commercial service in early 2022.
Let’s take a quick look at some key physical characteristics and see how these two aircraft measure up against each other:
|Aircraft Model||Length/m||Wingspan/m||Tail Height/m||Fuselage Width/m||MTOW/ kg|
You can see that the A320 and A319 share many common dimensions such as wingspan, fuselage width, and tail height. The key difference between the two aircraft is length, and the additional length of the A320 brings additional weight.
Seating Capacity and Cabin Layout
Airbus’ typical 2-class and maximum seating capacities for the A320 and A319 variants are shown in the table below. As you would expect, the shorter A319 has a lower seating capacity than the A320, typically 80-85% of the A320.
However, these numbers are for comparison purposes only, as in practice airlines fit out their aircraft in many different seating configurations and actual seat numbers can vary significantly between different variants, even within the same airline.
|Aircraft||Typical 2-Class Seating Capacity||Maximum Seating Capacity|
|A320ceo||140 – 170||180|
|A320neo||150 – 180||194|
In practice, we see a variety around these numbers as airlines have fitted out these aircraft in 1-class, 2-class, and 3-class configurations. In some premium cabins, there are lie-flat seats which reduce overall seat density.
Looking at a variety of airlines operating A320 and A321 aircraft including Air Asia, American Airlines, ANA, British Airways, Cebu Pacific, Air China, China Southern, easyjet, Air India, Air France, Frontier Airlines, Indigo, JetBlue, Lufthansa, Qatar Airways, Spirit Airlines, China Southern Airlines, United Airlines, Wizz Air, seat numbers typically vary as follows:
|A320||168 – 188||144-186||150-164|
The small number of A319LRs previously operated by Qatar Airways saw a number of interesting seating configuration changes.
They arrived at the airline with a 2-class configuration – 8 business class seats and 102 seats in the economy cabin. In 2014, Qatar Airways reconfigured these aircraft to a lower-density all-business class flatbed 40-seat arrangement. These aircraft flew between London and Qatar but have since been taken off this route with the deployment of the B787, and it seems that these A319LRs now no longer fly for Qatar Airways.
Air Canada currently has an all-business class A319 with 58 seats in a 2-2 seating configuration.
With a common fuselage cross-section, the A320 and A319 offer similar seating layouts with a single aisle and six seats across in economy and premium economy classes.
The versatility of these aircraft to offer efficient operations over short to medium-haul routes means that many airlines have fitted out premium cabins, including some with lie-flat beds.
Where premium cabins are installed, airlines typically adopt a 2-2 seating arrangement in business and first class, although where lie-flat beds are installed the arrangement may be 1-1.
Customers and Orders
As of the end of June 2022, the A320 has received 8,564 orders with 6,266 (73.2%) delivered. In contrast, the A319 has received only 1,559 orders with 1,491 (95.6%) delivered.
Looking deeper into the numbers we see that virtually all of the A320ceo and A319ceo orders are now fulfilled and most of the outstanding orders are for neo versions. Only around 10% of the small total number of A319neo orders has been delivered, while the A320neo orders are around 40% delivered.
The graph below shows the number of orders and deliveries for each of the A319ceo, A319neo, A320ceo, and A320neo:
You can see from the graph above the significant number of A320 orders compared to the orders received for the A319.
The neo variant of the A319 has not proven too popular so far. Of the total 8,115 A320 family neo orders to the end of June 2022, the A319neo makes up just 73 of these (less than 1%).
Maybe Airbus’ 75% investment in the Bombardier C-Series program is coming into play here. The former Bombardier CS100 and the larger CS300, now renamed as the A220-100 and A220-300 respectively, can be said to be direct competitors of the A319neo.
To the end of June 2022, the top three customers by the number of historic orders for each aircraft variant are as follows:
|Top 3 A320ceo Customers|
|NAS Aviation Services||236|
|Top 3 A320neo Customers|
|Top 3 A319ceo Customers|
|Governments, executive and private jets||77|
|Top 3 A319neo Customers|
|Governments, executive and private jets||8|
For the A320 and A319 combined orders to the end of June 2022 the top 10 customers are as follows:
|Top 10 Customers||A320 + A319 Total Orders|
|NAS Aviation Services||419|
|China Eastern Airlines||227|
|SMBC Aviation Capital||224|
A high proportion of total A320 and A319 orders have been made by leasing companies. Based on Airbus’ figures, leasing companies account for 30% of total A320 and A321 orders to the end of June 2022.
Also, ‘low cost’ airlines are very significant A320 and A319 customers, accounting for three of the top ten A320/A319 customers. easyJet and Indigo are the top two customers for the A320 and A319 combined.
The ranges of the A320ceo and A320neo are slightly shorter than the ranges of their A319 equivalents – around 6,300km versus 6,900km. Unsurprisingly, the A319LR has the longest range within the A320/A319 group, exceeding 8,000km.
All A320 variants are ETOPS (Extended-range Twin-engine Operational Performance Standards) certified for 180 minutes since 2004 (EASA) and 2006 (FAA).
|A320ceo||6,200km/3,350nm with sharklets|
|A319ceo||6,950km/3,750nm with sharklets|
A320 vs. A319: Summary
The A320 and A319 are very similar aircraft, but physically distinguishable from each other due to the slightly shorter fuselage length of the A319 compared to the A320.
Both the A320 and the A319 are now available as neo versions, and orders for the A320neo have already reached 80% of the orders received for the original A320ceo. However, the A319neo seems less popular, with orders so far under 5% of the orders received for the A319ceo. Having said that the A319neo is a relatively new offer from Airbus.
Both the A319 and the A320 have proved popular with both ‘low cost’ airlines, and with leasing corporations.