Aircraft By Type

Aircraft Make & Model:
Airbus A320-211
170,000 lbs.
2,350 statute miles
525 mph
Domestic: 148 passengers (16 Business, 132 Economy); International: 144 passengers (12 Business, 132 Economy)
123 ft., 3 in.
111 ft., 10 in.
39 ft., 5 in.
HP or Thrust:
No. flown by DL:
First Delivery:
June 8, 1989 to Northwest Airlines
First Scheduled Service:
July 1, 1989 with Northwest
Reason Aquired:
Northwest merged with Delta on October 29, 2008, and the merged airline began single operations on January 31, 2009.
Last Retirement:
Reason Disposed:

Narrative:  Airbus A320 2008-present

Technology Advances
  • The A320 family was the first to fully feature a "glass cockpit," rather than the hybrid versions found in the A310 and the Boeing 757 and 767. The only analog instruments were the VOR and brake pressure indicator.
  • First fully digital fly-by-wire flight control system in a civil airliner. 
  • The traditional yoke control column was eliminated, and in its place, side-by-side controllers were installed for pilots to fly the plane by sending computer-generated electrical impulses to motors that drove the flight control surfaces on the wings and tail. The side sticks eliminated more than 400 pounds of control cabling and other hydraulic and mechanical equipment.
  • First narrow-body airliner built with a significant amount of the structure made from composite materials.
  • One of the quietest aircraft on the market in 1989.
  • Wider cabin interior than other single-aisle planes, permitting easier flow through the cabin.
  • Used approximately 50 percent less fuel than similarly sized aircraft in the Northwest Airlines fleet.
Passenger Experience

The A320's fuselage was 8 inches wider than the 727-200 it replaced in the Northwest Airlines fleet, allowing more room in aisles to move through the cabin. Overhead bins were also larger and the three lavatories were equipped with diaper-changing tables. 

Another difference—no ashtrays available in the main cabin. Northwest became the first major carrier to ban smoking on all North American flights on April 23, 1992.

Service with Northwest

Northwest was the first airline in North America to receive an Airbus A320 on June 8, 1989, and the first in North America to put the A320 in scheduled service on July 1, 1989. Inaugural flight: Detroit-Minneapolis/St. Paul-San Diego.

Northwest became the world's largest Airbus A320 fleet operator when it received its 32nd A320 on June 12, 1992.

Northwest's 49th and 50th A320 were delivered on May 38, 1993, but facing difficult economic times, Northwest postponed its 51st A320 delivery until January 27, 1998. The final 27 Airbus A320s were delivered to Northwest from 1998-December 18, 2003.

The A320 and the narrow-body A319 were the backbone of Northwest's domestic fleet when the airline merged with Delta in 2008.

More Information


  • airbus_a320_cockpit
  • Northwest A320 taking off from Tampa