Airbus Numbering System

The Boeing commercial aircraft numbering system, popularly called the customer codes, is explained in a previous article. Airbus too has developed a numbering system that contains additional information about the aircraft, but these are not customer codes. The Airbus numbers instead denote the type of engine installed in the aircraft. The general format of the Airbus numbering system is Ammm-sevZ where the individual components are described below. The Airbus model numbers developed so far are listed below. The series number refers to the different variants of a particular model that have been developed. Standard series numbers used by Airbus include 1 for 100, 2 for 200, etc. The primary exception to this system is the A300. The original series number designations used for variants of this model included the B1, B2, and B4 for passenger models as well as the C4 for a convertible freighter version. Later production variants of the A300 were designated as the A300-600 to become consistent with the rest of the Airbus product line.

The engine manufacturer codes that have been assigned to date include the following.

The final number denotes newer versions of the basic engine model. These numbers appear to start at 1 for the original engine and increase sequentially for updated engines.

An optional letter sometimes follows the series of numbers to designate a variation on the series number. Common examples include the following.

A330-343X operated by MyTravel Airways
A330-343X operated by MyTravel Airways

This explanation allows us to decipher the examples provided in the question. The first example is the A330-343X. This designation refers to an A330 model of the -300 series, which is a passenger version carrying a standard load of 335 passengers in three classes. The 4 indicates the aircraft is powered by Rolls-Royce engines while the 3 refers to the third version of that engine, which is the Trent 772 model. The final X apparently indicates the aircraft is an A330-300 Enhanced version with an updated flight deck.

The A330-321, meanwhile, indicates an A330-300 model powered by Pratt & Whitney PW4164 engines. The third example is the A340-313X used for an A340-300 Enhanced model equipped with SNECMA CFM56-5C4 turbofan engines. Finally, the A300B4-203(F) is an A300B4 model converted to a cargo freighter and powered by General Electric CF6-50C2 or CF6-50C2D engines.

A good place to further explore the Airbus numbering system is the Commercial Aircraft Census that lists details about each example of Airbus airliners built to date.
- answer by Joe Yoon, 4 June 2006

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