It is official Airbus has decided to offer the neo (new engine option) for its single aisle A320 Family aircraft. Airlines have the choice between CFM International’s LEAP-X engine and Pratt & Whitney’s PurePower PW1100G geared turbo-fan engine. As indicated in our earlier report, this leaves current engine provider International Aero Engines out in the cold.
The new aircraft known as the A320neo will also also incorporate fuel-saving large blended wing tips called Sharklets. Airbus will start deliveries of the A320neo Family in spring 2016.
One of the customers rumoured as launch customers is India’s low fare carrier IndiGo. The carrier has an ongoing 100 A320 aircraft order and is expected to release an order for another 150 aircraft (rumoured to be a mix of A320 and A330 aircraft) soon. Indian carriers notably the erstwhile Indian Airlines were early adopters of both the A300 and the A320.
The A320neo will deliver a significant fuel savings of up to 15 percent and additionally, reduced engine noise, lower operating costs and up to 500nm (950 km) more range or two tonnes more payload.
Today’s A320neo announcement follows the approval given by the Board of Directors of EADS, Airbus’ shareholder company.
The new engine option will be offered on the A321, A320 and A319 models which will require limited modifications, primarily to the wing and pylon areas. The A320neo will have over 95 percent airframe commonality with the existing standard A320 Family. Airbus sees a market potential of 4,000 A320neo Family aircraft over the next 15 years.
During his visit to India in October, Tom Enders, Airbus President and CEO, was optimistic that the board of EADS would approve the A320neo. The main concern was the allocation of engineering resources needed for the A320neo while at the same time securing the engineering skills required on other Airbus aircraft programmes, most importantly the A350XWB. The decision today only confirms what was already more or less confirmed earlier.
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