MIAMI — Airbus celebrated the completion of the first A320neo on Monday as the aircraft rolled out of the hangar at its Toulouse, France factory and into the public eye for the first time.
Airbus says the airplane, known as MSN6101, remains on track to begin flight testing in September of 2014. Once aloft, it is set to test handling qualities, performance, and its engines.
A second aircraft is expected to join the fleet in late 2014, dedicated largely to testing the autopilot system along with engines and systems. Both will be outfitted with Pratt & Whitney’s PW1100G-JM geared turbofan power plant
Airbus currently projects that the first CFM Leap-1A powered A320neo will begin testing in the first half of 2015, with a second joining the fleet early in the second half of the year.
To date, the airplane has sold nearly 2,700 frames spread across 52 customers. The company says entry into service, at least for the P&W powered jets, is still scheduled for the fourth quarter of 2015. Certification for CFM-powered airplanes is expected by mid-2016.