The Airbus A320, the model of the EgyptAir plane that crashed in the Mediterranean today, is one of the most common planes in service around the world today. The A320 is generally considered one of the safest passenger planes in service.
Airbus says it has had 11 crashes with fatalities, on top of the Germanwings plane deliberately brought down by co-pilot Andreas Lubitz in March 2015. Overall, the A320 registered just 0.14 fatal accidents per million takeoffs, according to a Boeing safety analysis published last year.
It is a twin-engine, single-aisle plane that operates on short and medium-haul routes. Similar to the Boeing 737 it is used to connect cities that are between one and five hours apart.
The first A320 entered service in 1988. There are nearly 4,000 A320s in operation worldwide. Airbus, a European plane-making group based in Toulouse, France, also makes nearly identical versions of the A320: the smaller A318 and A319 and the stretched A321. The entire fleet has accumulated nearly 180 million flight hours in over 98 million flights.
The plane is certified to fly up to 39,000 feet, its maximum altitude before its rate of climb begins to erode. The plane has an absolute flight limit of 42,000 feet.
Airbus said the aircraft was delivered to EgyptAir in 2003 and had logged 48,000 flight hours. The European plane-maker said that it had engines made by Swiss-based engine consortium IAE, and had the serial number 2088.
The Airbus A320 plane was flying from Paris to Cairo when it disappeared early Thursday over the sea. The Airbus 320 lost contact at 2.45 a.m. local time Thursday morning.
Egyptian airport officials say that investigators will inspect the plane debris and personal belongings that the Egyptian army says it found 180 miles (290 kilometers) north of the city of Alexandria.