28th May 2019 saw the German airline Lufthansa retire its oldest aircraft. Airbus A320-200, D-AIPA, delivered to the airline in October 1989 marked its final flight by performing a flypast of Hamburg Finkenwerder where the A320 series is built.
Lufthansa is known for holding on to its aircraft for a number of years – it was one of the last major European airlines to retire the classic Boeing 737 series in 2016.
The crown of the oldest in the fleet will now fall to D-AIPB, which is just a few days younger. At the same time, the airline is continuing to take delivery of both A320ceo’s and the more recent A320neo’s of which the airline was the launch customer. This will expedite the retirement of these older aircraft.
Having flown on a couple of Lufthansa’s older A320’s I can speak from personal experience when saying that to the average traveller there is virtually no difference between the older jets and the more recent ones. Lufthansa takes very good care of its machines and the only noticeable difference other than the older style cabin was that the older machine was a little nosier.
Airbus has currently produced in the region of 9000 A320 series aircraft, consisting of the A318, A319, A320-100 (the first in the series), A320-200, A320neo, A321-100, A321-200, A321neo and finally the A321LR. An A321XLR variant is also in development which will extend the range up to 4500nm and is thought to be due to enter service in 2022.