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John Leahy reveals Airbus A320 NEO (new engine option) plans

At the recently concluded EADS Global Investor Forum 2010, John Leahy the chief operating officer for Airbus S.A.S. the commercial airframe manufacturer owned by the consortium revealed plans on its proposed New Engine Option (NEO) for its ultra-popular A320 family of aircraft.

Airbus A320 NEO slideIn this slide, Mr. Leahy unveils an artistic impression of the re-engined single-aisle narrow body airliner and outlines a targeted efficiency gain in fuel burn of up to 15% over the current generation of A320s. This is in addition to the new Sharklets which Airbus is scheduled to introduce in 2012 which are expected to deliver 3.5% improvement in fuel burn and also improved aircraft performance and noise levels.

The NEO will use high bypass ratio engines with ratios increasing from the current five to between nine and twelve. To achieve this fan diameters will increase from around 64 inches (1.626m) to 81 inches (2.057m). Due to taller under-carriage this is an option the A320 can consider, but its competitor the Boeing 737NG with its much lower wing height will find difficult to do.

On the slide one observes the logos of engine manufacturers CFM International (a consortium of GE Aviation and Snecma currently offering the CFM56 engines), and Pratt & Whitney are displayed.

The logo noticeably missing, is that of International Aero Engines (IAE) (a consortium of Pratt & Whitney, Rolls Royce, MTU Aero Engines and Japanese Aero Engines Corporation currently offering the V2500 engines).

In India, A320s of Air India and GoAir are powered by CFM engines while those of IndiGo and Kingfisher are powered by the V2500.

During his presentation, Leahy does sound very optimistic about the Airbus board going ahead with the NEO plan. A similar optimism was sounded by Tom Enders, the CEO during his recent visit to India.

The overall presentation on Airbus commercial aircraft does make very interesting reading and shows the competitive position that Airbus enjoys against arch-rival Boeing.

Some interesting analyses are on page 6 (Airbus lags Boeing on the units of aircraft orders but leads Boeing on the revenue value of orders), on page 7 (lags Boeing in the single aisle segment but leads in all others), slides 8~11 document the financial situation with airlines across the world.

About Devesh Agarwal

A electronics and automotive product management, marketing and branding expert, he was awarded a silver medal at the Lockheed Martin innovation competition 2010. He is ranked 6th on Mashable's list of aviation pros on Twitter and in addition to Bangalore Aviation, he has contributed to leading publications like Aviation Week, Conde Nast Traveller India, The Economic Times, and The Mint (a Wall Street Journal content partner). He remains a frequent flier and shares the good, the bad, and the ugly about the Indian aviation industry without fear or favour.

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