As the fastest-selling commercial airliner ever continues to build momentum – with additional new orders and commitments announced at the week’s Dubai Airshow – Airbus’ A320 neo (new engine option) programme is ready for major landmarks next year, including the start of final assembly in the spring, and its targeted maiden flight during autumn.
“The NEO is on-track, is on performance, and will be mature from first flight,” said Airbus’ Senior Vice President A320neo Programme Klaus Roewe. “The NEO is real.”
To support the start of final assembly in 2014, components for the first NEO jetliner to fly are in production at Airbus facilities, as well as for its supply chain partners around the world. This includes build-up of fuselage sections, wings and pylons which will converge for final assembly.
In addition, both new engine choices – CFM International’s LEAP-1A and the PurePower PW1100G-JM from Pratt & Whitney – are now in testing with their respective manufacturers, marking another important step in this single-aisle product line’s progress.
At the Dubai Airshow, Etihad Airways ordered 36 A320neo Family aircraft, and newly launched Libyan Wings signed a Memorandum of Understanding for four of these jetliners, further underscoring the commercial success of the NEO and its global customer base.
Sharing 95 per cent commonality with A320ceo (current engine option) aircraft, NEO jetliners incorporate more efficient engines and Sharklet wingtip devices, which together will deliver up to 15 per cent fuel savings.