The world’s fastest-selling commercial airliner kept the momentum going in the first days of the Paris Air Show, as Airbus added 123 A320neo (new engine option) Family firm orders and commitments while expanding the aircraft’s customer base into a new market.
In an on-site announcements at the air show’s Le Bourget airport venue, the Lufthansa Group firmed up its order for 35 A320neo and 35 A321neo; ILFC ordered 50 additional aircraft from this single-aisle family; while the A320neo received its first commitment from Africa – when it was announced Tunisia’s Syphax Airlines signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) for three of these jetliners. In addition, easyJet – the largest A320 Family customer and operator in Europe – identified a future need for 100 A320neo aircraft, subject to shareholder approval.
A320neo Family is Airbus’ new highly-efficient product line equipped with standard Sharklet wingtip devices that offers operators a choice of two new jet engine types, and will deliver 15 per cent fuel burn reduction to carriers.
Meanwhile, the NEO programme is continuing to “take shape,” with several recent milestones paving the way to future service entry. In one step, Airbus has frozen the design for its A320neo and A319 variants, and production of components and subassemblies is now underway for the first aircraft to fly. This fall, initial assembly of sections for this jetliner will begin.
Development of the A320neo Family’s engine types is progressing as well, as the Pratt & Whitney PurePower PW1100G-JM flew for the first time this May – installed on the engine manufacturer’s flying testbed. The engine began ground evaluations in 2012 and has amassed more than 400 hours on four different test powerplants. Airbus is scheduled to receive its first PW1100G-JM this fall for testing. The CFM LEAP-1A engine is preparing for the start of its test campaign in the fall of 2013.
Airbus’ A320 current engine option (ceo) versions are popular as well with operators, with additional firm orders and commitments announced this week – including 30 A320ceo jetliners as part of Lufthansa’s order – and two milestone deliveries conducted during the show: Air New Zealand’s first A320 Sharklet-equipped aircraft, the 200th A320 Family aircraft to LATAM Airlines Group – also a Sharklet-equipped A320.