Energy efficiency of Airbus A320

Updated Nov 5, 2020

The Airbus A320:

  • covers around 0.0078 m/kJ
  • and moves mass at around 0.33 – 0.61 kg.m/J


The Airbus A320 is a 1987 passenger plane.1

Distance per Joule

The plane uses 2.91 kg of fuel per km on a medium haul flight.2 We do not know what type of fuel it uses, but typical values for aviation fuel are around 44MJ/kg.3 Thus to fly a kilometer, the plane needs 2.91kg of fuel, which is 2.91 x 44 MJ = 128MJ of fuel. This gives us 0.0078 m/kJ

Mass.distance per Joule

According to, the A320’s ‘operating empty weight’ is 42,600 kg and its ‘maximum take-off weight’ is 78,000 kg.4 We use the range 42,600—78,000 kg, since we do not know at what weight in that range the relevant speeds were measured.

We have:

  • Distance per kilojoule: 0.0078 m/kJ
  • Mass: 42,600—78,000 kg

This gives us a range of 0.33 – 0.61 kg.m/J


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