Airlines around the world are benefiting daily from Airbus’ unique commonality, which results from the company’s pioneering use of fly-by-wire technology, along with its application of standardised cockpit layouts and operational procedures.
15 of Airbus’ aircraft models feature similar flight decks and handling characteristics. This commonality across the Airbus product line enables the multi-qualification of pilots and reduced pilot training times, while bringing significant savings through streamlined operational procedures.
With Airbus’ Cross Crew Qualification concept, fly-by-wire qualified pilots are positioned for an easy transition among A350 Family, the A320, A330 and A380 families through straightforward and rapid differential training – rather than full type rating training. For instance, transition training from A380 Family to the A350 is only 5 days, compared to a full course A350 training duration of around 50 days.
A mixed-fleet approach with benefits for everyone
Building on Airbus’ operational commonality, a pilot can be current on more than one fly-by-wire aircraft type simultaneously, and regularly transition from very-long to medium-haul flights.
For airlines, the increase in revenue hours flown due to reduced standby results in significant productivity increases. Airlines could interchange differently-sized aircraft on short notice without crew-scheduling difficulties, allowing them to better match aircraft capacity to passenger demand.
Such streamlining results in lower training costs for airlines and considerably increased crew productivity, with annual savings in training and payroll costs of up to $300,000 for each new Airbus aircraft added to the fleet. It is also more economical for an airline to recruit new pilots who are already Airbus-qualified; for pilots, this benefit provides greater mobility and better prospects for employment.