Airbus’s re-engined development of its A320 narrowbody airliner, the A320neo (New Engine Option), made its first flight on Wednesday.
The first A320neo development aircraft, F-WNEO MSN6101, took off on its maiden flight from Toulouse-Blagnac Airport at 1200 local time. Onboard were test pilots Philippe Pellerin and Etienne Miche de Malleray and flight test engineers Jean-Paul Lambert, Manfred Birnfeld and Sandra Bour-Schaeffer.
“During the flight, which took the aircraft around southern France, the crew explored the aircraft’s flight envelope and systems operation, while the progress was monitored by experts on the ground in real time via a direct telemetry link,” Airbus said.
First flight marks the beginning of a 3,000 hour flight test campaign. The first aircraft is powered by Pratt & Whitney’s PW1100G geared turbofan, while the aircraft is also available with the CFM LEAP-1A. First delivery, of a PW1100G-powered aircraft, is expected to Qatar Airways in the fourth quarter of 2015.
Total A320neo Family orders stand at over 3,200 from 60 customers. Locally the Qantas Group now has 99 A320neos on order for Jetstar (after it this year converted orders for 21 current version A320s to neos), while Air New Zealand has 13 neos on order.