LATAM Airlines has become the fifth operator and first in the Americas to receive the A320neo narrowbody.
The South American airline group has taken delivery of the first of 67 A320neo family of aircraft on order, with the milestone celebrated at Airbus headquarters in Toulouse, France on Tuesday before the aircraft, PT-TMN, was ferried to Belo Horizonte in Brazil.
LATAM joins Lufthansa, Indigo, GoAir and Pegasus Airlines with the A320neo in its fleet. Its A320neos were configured with 174 seats in a one-class configuration and slated to commence commercial service on domestic routes in Brazil – including Brasilia, Belo Horizonte, Campo Grande, Curitiba, Florianopolis, Porto Alegre, Recife, Rio de Janeiro Galeao and Sao Paulo Guarulhos – before expanding into regional international service from November.
The oneworld alliance member was due to receive one more A320neo before the end of 2016.
“We are pleased to offer our passengers the opportunity to fly the first A320neo in the Americas,” LATAM Airlines Group chief executive Enrique Cueto said in a statement.
“The A320 aircraft family has long served an important role in our fleet, supporting the operation of our unrivalled domestic and regional network in Latin America. With the latest in technology, efficiency and passenger comfort, the A320neo is a welcome addition and will help us to continue to offer one of the most modern and efficient fleets in the industry.”
LATAM, Lufthansa and IndoGo have ordered A320neo aircraft powered by Pratt & Whitney Pure Power PW1100-JM engines, while Turkish-based Pegasus Airlines was the first airline to receive the A320neo powered by CFM LEAP-1A engines.
In this part of the world, Qantas has ordered 99 A320neo family aircraft to be powered by LEAP-1A engines.
The first neos were due to arrive from the end of calendar 2017, Qantas has said previously.
The aircraft were ostensibly destined for Jetstar as older A320s are paid off and to cover growth, although the company has not ruled out operating the aircraft on Qantas mainline domestic services to replace its Boeing 737-800 fleet.
And Air New Zealand has chosen the Pratt & Whitney PurePower PW1100G-JM engine for its order of 13 Airbus A320neo and A321neo aircraft due for delivery from 2017.