Indian carrier IndiGo has become the second airline in the world and first in Asia to receive the Airbus A320neo.
The low-cost carrier took delivery of the first of 430 A320neos it has on order during a handover ceremony at Airbus’s headquarters in Toulouse, France, on Friday.
IndiGo president Aditya Ghosh said the A320neos, which are powered by Pratt & Whitney PW1100G geared turbofan engines, would usher in a period of expansion at the airline.
“The A320neo aircraft will enable us to continue to offer affordable air transportation and a new flying experience for our customers. The fuel efficient aircraft will be part of a new phase of our growth and will enable us to offer more regional and international destinations at the best price,” Ghosh said in a statement.
IndiGo, which has currently has an all-A320 fleet of 102 aircraft, follows German flag carrier Lufthansa in operating the A320neo.
Other Indian carriers to have ordered the A320neo include Air India, GoAir and Vistara.
Closer to home, Qantas expected to take delivery of the first of 99 Airbus A320neo aircraft the airline group has on order from the end of calendar 2017, while Air New Zealand’s 13 A320neo/A321neo are also due to arrive from 2017.
Qatar Airways had originally been the launch customer for the A320neo. However, the oneworld alliance member declined to accept the aircraft while Pratt & Whitney developed a fix for the PW1100G, which currently has to idle for between two and six minutes after start-up before the aircraft can taxi under its own power.
Instead, Lufthansa became the launch customer of the A320neo at a low-key ceremony on January 20.
Qatar chief executive Akbar Al Baker said recently his airline was prepared to switch engine suppliers for its A320neo order should Pratt & Whitney fail to fix issues with its PW1100G geared turbofan.
Al Baker said Qatar is willing to go with the CFM LEAP 1A, which is expected to be certified on the A320neo later in 2016, should Pratt & Whitney not find a solution.
“We have already notified Pratt & Whitney officially that if they do not put this product right very soon that Qatar Airways will cancel the order for Pratt & Whitney engine aeroplanes,” Al Baker told reporters at a media conference in Sydney on March 3.
Airbus chief executive Fabrice Bregier told reporters at the opening of an Airbus A330 completion and delivery centre in Tianjin on March 2 the issues with the PW1100G engine were expected to be resolved “by mid year”.
Test flights on the A320neo with CFM LEAP-1A engines began in May 2015, with commercial service due to begin some time in 2016.