Staff Reporter

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The first of the new generation Airbus A320 joined the Air India fleet on Wednesday. It has a host of latest facilities, including advanced Weather Radar System, Enhanced Ground Proximity Warning System (EGPWS) and an LCD cockpit display system.

The 140-seater aircraft is also equipped with the latest digital cabin management system. The aircraft, the 74th of the 111 ordered by the national carrier as part of its fleet acquisition, will be on display at India Aviation 2010.

The A320 has a twin-class configuration — 20 seats in Executive class and 120 seats in Economy class. A spacious cabin and wide and comfortable seats are the other unique features. The two-by-two abreast seats in Executive class have a seat pitch each of 40 inches, a release from the national carrier said.

In the Economy class, the three-by-three abreast seats offer a pitch of 32/31 inches. Like all new Airbus aircraft, the A320 comes equipped with the Thales i3000 entertainment system.

Passengers flying the new A320 can look forward to a wide range of audio-visual entertainment such as Hindi and regional movies, variety programmes and different genres of music.

Air India has ordered 43 Airbus aircraft — 20 A321, 19 A319 and four A320. Of these, 39 have now been received — 19 A321, 19 A319 and one A320. The remaining A320 and A321 aircraft are scheduled to be delivered by April.

Air India has also ordered 68 Boeing aircraft of which 35 — eight B777-200LR, nine B777-300ER, and 18 B737-200 — have been delivered so far. Major metros, State capitals and cities like Singapore, Bangkok, Kuala Lumpur, Dubai and Sharjah are among the destinations that will be covered by the A321, A319 and A320.