The Airbus A319 celebrates its 20th anniversary this week.

The aircraft, which took its maiden flight on August 25, 1995, is one of the most popular planes used by budget airlines and there are currently 1,450 in operation across the world.

The A319 is part of Airbus’ best-selling A320 family of aircraft and it has a shorter fuselage than the A320 and A321, but is longer than the A318.

The aircraft jetted off for the first time from Hamburg, Germany, at 1.33pm with the flight lasting three hours and 50 minutes.

It was captained by Udo Günzel, Airbus Industrie test pilot and chief pilot of the Hamburg facility.

The other members of the crew were Claude Lelaie, vice-president flight division, flight test engineers Fernando Alonso and Manfred Birnfield as well as flight engineer Gérard Desbois.

Following the maiden flight Captain Günzel said: “The A319 behaved perfectly on its first flight and confirmed the high standard of Airbus Industrie technology.

“We all felt very familiar and comfortable flying it, due to its extensive commonality and similarity with the other members of the family.”

A standard A319 has 124 seats, however the plane manufacturer today also offers an option of up to 156 – a version that is being ordered by an increasing number of low-cost airlines.

In the UK, the A319 along with others in the A320 family forms the backbone of European fleets with the two main UK carriers being EasyJet with 149 and British Airways with 44.

The wings for all Airbus planes including the A319 are made at Broughton, which is one of North Wales biggest employers with 5,000 working there.