Lufthansa has taken delivery of the first customer Airbus A320neo during a low-key ceremony in Hamburg on January 20, with plans to place the aircraft into service just days later on January 24.
That first revenue flight, planned for Frankfurt to Hamburg next Sunday, will also see the commercial debut of Pratt & Whitney’s PW1100G geared turbofan, one of two engine options available for the neo (or New Engine Option), alongside the CFM LEAP 1A, which should be certified on the A320neo later this year.
“Handing over the first A320neo to a world’s leading airline and long-standing Airbus customer, Lufthansa, is a truly great day for everyone at Airbus,” Fabrice Brégier, Airbus president and CEO said in a statement.
“This occasion marks a new step forward to delivering on our promises and meeting our industry’s goal for sustainable aviation. The A320neo embodies Airbus’s passion and commitment to deliver maximum value and efficiency to our customers through continuous innovations.”
— Lufthansa (@lufthansa) January 20, 2016
Qatar Airways had been scheduled to be the first airline to take delivery of the neo, with a handover due before the end of 2015, but it declined to accept the aircraft while Pratt & Whitney developed a fix for the PW1100G, which currently has to idle for three minutes after start-up before the aircraft can taxi under its own power.
Both the PW1100G and LEAP 1A engine options should allow the A320neo to deliver an initial 15 per cent improvement in fuel burn over current A320s, with 20 per cent promised by 2020. It is that promise of efficiency that has seen airlines order the A320neo Family (which also includes the A319neo and A321neo) in its thousands. To date the neo order book stands at almost 4,500 aircraft, with Airbus planning to build 60 a month by mid-2019.
Locally Air New Zealand has 13 PW1100G-powered A320neo and A321neo aircraft on order due for delivery from 2017, while the Qantas Group has 99 (expected to comprise both the A320neo and A321neo) on order for Jetstar.