Airbus has started cutting metal for its first A320neo as production gets underway on the upgraded single-aisle airliner.
Scheduled to enter service from late 2015, the A320neo features new engines and ‘sharklet’ wingtip devices that Airbus says will improve fuel efficiency by as much as 15 per cent. Airbus has booked more than 1,400 firm orders for the aircraft since it was announced in 2010.
On Sunday, Airbus said it had begun machining the first A320neo engine pylon component at is dedicated pylon and nacelle factory in Toulouse, France. The pylon, which holds the engine to the wing, retains a high degree of commonality with the existing A320 pylon design while incorporating more titanium and some advanced architectures developed for the A380 pylon.
“This first metal cut of the engine pylon component for the A320neo heralds the completion of the design phase and start of production for the world’s fastest selling airliner,” Airbus executive vice president of programs Tom Williams said. “We are excited to be already starting manufacture of the world’s most eco-efficient single-aisle airliner today.”
The A320neo will compete with Boeing’s re-engined 737 MAX, which has accumulated more than 1,000 firm orders of its own. The MAX is slated to enter service in late 2017.