TIN news: The new-generation Airbus A320neo commercial airliner made its first flight on 25 September 2014. According to Airbus, this first flight paves the way for the type to enter commercial service between September-December 2015.
The first A320neo was rolled-out on 1 July this year and, to date, just the one has been built. It's the lead example of Airbus' greenest ever design and, yesterday, it spent approximately 2.5 hours airborne after having taken off from Toulouse-Blagnac Airport at 1422hrs.
Ultimately there will be eight A320neo test airframes and they'll cumulatively notch-up around 3,000 flying hours prior to the type's first customer delivery, to be made late next year.
Neo stands for New Engine Option - just one of this new Airbus airliner's salient eco-features. Two A320neo engine choices are available - Pratt & Whitney's PurePower PW1100G-JM geared turbofan or CFM International's LEAP-1A. In both cases, 20 per cent less fuel is burned, which means one Airbus A320neo will emit 5,000 fewer tons of CO2 into the atmosphere during 12 months of commercial operations. Airbus also claims that the A320neo offers reduced noise benefits and that, compared to preceding designs, it works out 14 per cent cheaper to operate.
The original Airbus A320 had its maiden flight in 1987 and was the world's first fly-by-wire controlled commercial airliner. It spawned a series of developments offering greater (A321) and reduced (A319 and A318) capacity, so as to place the aircraft within the maximum possible number of markets. Similarly, there'll be several -neo models now produced - the A319neo, A320neo and A321neo - maximising market opportunities.
Next-Gen Airbus First Flight
Currently, a massive 2661 Airbus neos of all variants are on order, with some 1,200 orders placed in 2011 alone. In fact, no other airliner has ever attracted so many orders within such a quick timeframe.
"I congratulate the whole A320neo development team, ground crew and air crew for making this day happen", comments Fabrice Brégier - CEO and President of Airbus - in the group's triumphant 25 September next-gen Airbus first flight press release.
He continues: "The A320neo which has taken to the air today builds on the outstanding success of the A320 Family. The aircraft through its incremental innovations combines the most efficient engine and aerodynamic technologies, as well as new cabin features to bring to market a product which will consume 20 per cent less fuel per passenger."