The Airbus A320 is one of the most prevalent jetliners in Europe's aerospace industry, transporting more than a million people a day, according to Reuters.
A Germanwings A320 aircraft crashed in the French Alps on Tuesday, killing all 150 people on board. The cause of the crash is not yet known, although authorities have located the site of the wreckage and one of the black boxes from the plane.
Separate surveys conducted last year by manufacturers Airbus and Boeing showed only 10 to 12 percent of fatal accidents take place when the aircraft is at cruising altitude, Reuters reported.
Reuters reports, "More than 3,600 of the [A320] jets are in operation and another 3,700 are waiting to be built as Asia's economic expansion fuels record demand.
"Put together with the rest of the A320 family of twin-engined, single-aisle jets — the A318, A319 and A321 — more than 6,000 are in use several times a day, whether feeding passengers into hubs for traditional carriers or fuelling the growth of low-cost airlines."
According to Reuters, the A320 cockpit was revolutionary when the jet was put into service in 1988, as it was the first aircraft relying on computers to fly within safe limits, while the usual control yoke was replaced with a side-stick, inspired by the F-16 fighter.
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