Having sold nearly 11,000 units since its release in 1988, Airbus has found the solution to making their best-selling A320 more cost and fuel efficient as demonstrated with the first flight of their A320neo, yesterday, 25th September, and broadcast live on aeronewstv.
Apart from a few structural changes, notably to its wings, the A320neo is, in fact, nothing less than a classic A320 with a new, much more, fuel-efficient engine. Its cost of development is one and a half billion Euros, just one tenth that of a new aircraft.
Klaus Rowe, Head of A320neo program - Airbus: interview in the video.
The A320neo is offered with either Pratt & Whitney or CFM International engines providing savings on 15 to 20% less fuel compared to current aircraft. For the first flight of the test programme, it was the American engine manufacturer that got the ball rolling. Present at the event in Toulouse (south-west France), Pratt & Whitney were elated.
Greg Gernhardt, Vice President A320neo engine program - Pratt & Whitney: interview in the video.
Tears of joy indeed, because, both engine manufacturers have more than 6,500 engines on order. To date the A320neo family already totals some 3,257 firm orders from 60 customers. In one year’s time, Qatar Airways, who have ordered 50 of these aircraft, will be the first airline to operate the A320neo.