Airbus has launched its A320neo (New Engine Option) re-engining of its A320 Family, promising fuel savings of up to 15 per cent when the updated narrowbody airliner range enters service in the northern spring of 2016.
The A320neo engine options comprise both Pratt & Whitney’s PurePower PW1100G geared turbofan and CFM’s Leap-X engine, which will be offered alongside the existing CFM56 and IAE V2500 engine offerings. It will also be fitted with Airbus’s forthcoming ‘Sharklet’ wingtip devices.
“We are confident that the A320neo will be a great success across all markets and with all types of operators, offering them maximum benefit with minimum change,” said Tom Enders, Airbus president and CEO, on December 1. “We are leveraging a reliable, mature aircraft and are making it even more efficient and environmentally friendly.”
The decision to launch the neo comes after approval was granted by parent company EADS, and it will position Airbus to better counter continued competition from the Boeing 737 line as well as new market entrants from Bombardier, Sukhoi, Mitsubishi and China’s COMAC. Airbus first flagged the A320neo option earlier this year after mulling over whether to stick with the original A320 Family design with minor refinements and perhaps bring forward an all-new single-aisle replacement to the early 2020s, or look to provide an interim re-engine option.
“Finding the necessary resources for the A320neo wasn’t exactly a walk in the park,” Enders noted. “The enabler was to devise a stringent phasing of critical engineering assets throughout our various development programs and to optimise the management and organisation of all our programs and R&T projects. Our international engineering centres, suppliers and partners play a big role in this.”
Airbus says its sees a market potential for as many as 4000 A320neo Family aircraft over the next 15 years. Analysts estimate the neo development program will cost around1bn euros (A$1.4bn).