Final assembly of the first Airbus A320neo is advancing rapidly in Toulouse, France, putting this “new engine option” jetliner programme on track for its maiden flight later this year, to be followed by the initial customer delivery in 2015.
The no. 1 A320neo began its final assembly process last month – starting with the join-up of its forward and aft fuselage sections, which were produced at Airbus’ St. Nazaire site in France and Hamburg, Germany facility respectively, then delivered to Toulouse.
This was followed by the mating of major aircraft structures produced at Airbus sites across Europe, including the wings (Broughton, UK); vertical tailplane (Stade, Germany); horizontal tailplane (Getafe, Spain); engine pylons (St. Eloi, France); and outer and inner flaps (Bremen, Germany). During recent activity, the main flight-test instrumentation equipment also was installed.
In parallel, the first A320neo jetliner’s PW1100G-JM engines are being prepared at Pratt & Whitney’s manufacturing facilities in the U.S., and will be delivered to Airbus in the coming months.
The A320neo incorporates many innovations, including latest-generation engines and large Sharklet wing-tip devices – which together deliver 15 per cent in fuel savings and a reduction of 3,600 tonnes of C02 per aircraft per year. With a total of more than 2,600 orders received from 50 customers since its 2010 launch, the A320neo Family has captured some 60 per cent of the market.