Skip to content

What to Do About Airbus' 5 Digit MSN Update

Feb 01th 2018
Airbus A320 MSN update - Photo courtesy of  Roger Lockwood -

The A320 fleet is about to reach 10,000 units and so Airbus will be extending the four-digit MSN to five digits for all related A320 family documentation. These updates are set to cover a vast number of documents and data across many different Airbus operations. This MSN format change is a big job to undertake for such a large amount of data, however, Airbus confirms that this will be fully operational by the end of 2018.

We break down what's changed and what airlines need to do next.

What Changed?

The MSN format change is set to be updated across structured documentation in the following areas:

  • Engineering
  • Maintenance
  • Repair
  • Scheduled maintenance
  • Flight operations manuals
  • Data and software

What Has Airbus Already Done?

Airbus has already begun upgrading their own information systems as part of the format change. All its supply chain is ready to accommodate the change including the AirbusWorld apps and other products are now ready to deliver the updated technical publications.


What to Do Next?

  • Airline organisations will need to determine if their systems will be compatible with the five-digit update. Whether you do this in-house or use another type of serviced solution, you will need to check with the document management team and the provider.

  • If you require any technical specifications and data samples, they should be available on the Airbus portal for you to access.

  • If you use DocuNet, then there's no need to worry. DocuNet is already fully compliant with five-digit MSNs and we will carry on as usual - there will be nothing more required from our clients and any updated MSNs will be integrated seamlessly into your XML data on your behalf.

No Need to Worry

If you're worried about the five-digit MSN update - then don't be! This change is already being fully recognised and supported by the likes of both Airbus and Vistair, in order to create a smooth transition of all data over to the five-digit MSN. However, it's always a good idea to check with your document management or publishing provider, to ensure that their systems are fully capable of the format change going forward.


Image by permission of Roger Lockwood


As aircraft are becoming more complicated pieces of transport machinery, so is the documentation that supports it. Airlines need to have a plan that can help support the management of complex OEM data to ensure they are meeting regulator stipulations. Download our latest free Vistair insight to learn more.