Airbus CEO Tom Enders has said that the airframer faced a difficult decision on whether to offer a new engine option (NEO) for its hot selling A320 family, particularly given the stretched engineering resources of the company.
Enders told L’Express magazine that while the NEO program made strategic sense, it would not be done if it stretched engineering resources at the company which are already under pressure with the A380, A350 and A400M programs. He has also raised the prospect that the company may decide against the NEO for such reasons.
“We must therefore evaluate very seriously if we are capable of working in parallel on a re-engined A320… If we ultimately decide not to do the A320 NEO, so as not to endanger current programs, then the sky won’t collapse on our heads,” he said.
Under the proposed NEO, Airbus would offer the Pratt & Whitney PW1000G geared turbofan and CFM International LEAP-X engines across the A320 Family, offering a sizable decrease in fuel burn compared to the IAE V2500 and CFM56 engines currently offered. Airbus’s board is expected to decide on whether to launch the program by the end of the year.
Influential aircraft leasing magnate Steven Udvar-Hazy has cast doubt over the A320 NEO plan and similar proposals to re-engine the Boeing 737, telling participants at a recent conference in Munich that the plans would not bring significant benefits. Lessors generally are understood to not favour new engines on the narrowbody aircraft due to the impact on residual values of those 737s and A320s currently on order and in service.