Airbus has completed the first flight test of its A321neo narrowbody powered by CFM Leap-1A engines.
The maiden flight with the A321neo (new engine option), which is the largest of Airbus’s A320 family of single-aisle aircraft, took off from Finkenwerder Airport near Hamburg on February 9 (European time).
Airbus said the flight lasted five hours and 29 minutes, with experimental test pilots Martin Scheuermann and Bernardo Saez Benito Hernandez, as well as test-flight engineer Gérard Leskerpit, on the flight deck of D-AVXB.
Flight-test engineers Sandra Bour Schaeffer and Emiliano Requena Esteban were also on board.
“Tests were performed on the engine speed variation (low/high), systems behaviour and to validate the aircraft’s flight envelope,” Airbus said in a statement.
“The A321neo will join the NEO flight test fleet and perform a partial flight test programme to validate the impact on handling qualities, performance and systems.
“The first A321neo will be delivered at the end of 2016.”
In this part of the world, Air New Zealand has ordered of 13 Airbus A320neo and A321neo aircraft that are due for delivery from 2017. The order includes a minimum of three A321neos, Air NZ said in a statement when announcing the order in June 2014.
Meanwhile, Jetstar could conceivably convert some of its order for 99 A320neos to the new longer-range member of the A320neo family.
The A320neo family of aircraft has two engine options – Pratt & Whitney’s PW1100G geared turbofan and the CFM LEAP 1A.
The first A320neo with Pratt & Whitney engines was delivered to launch customer Lufthansa on January 20.
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.