MIAMI — Lufthansa, together with Airbus and Pratt & Whitney, celebrated Friday the official ceremonial delivery of the world’s first A320neo. Carsten Spohr, Chairman of the Board and CEO of the Lufthansa Group, Airbus President and CEO Fabrice Brégier and the President of Pratt & Whitney Robert Leduc invited 700 guests and media staff to the official delivery at Hamburg-Finkenwerder.
Following the handover, the first two aircraft were presented to the attendees. The first A320neo (D-AINA / MSN 6801) has already flown scheduled service since January. The second NEO (D-AXAX / MSN 6864) is expected to join the fleet soon. According to Spohr, the initial experiences with the A320neo have been positive, confirming that the 15 percent lower fuel consumption mark was not only achieved but also slightly exceeded, despite of existing technical glitches. “We are very grateful to Airbus and PW, and will be even more so once teething problems are fixed!” he joked.
The CEO of Lufthansa was not the only one to talk about the PW 1000G issues. Airbus0 Brégier also announced that the company will ramp up the deliveries once the technical issue known to cause engines to run in idle during three minutes before taxi is finally solved. Last December, Qatar Airways, which was supposed to be the launch operator, declined to take delivery of the aircraft under such technical constraints.
At the present time, the permanent solution proposed by PW implies a hardware fix that has already been implemented. However, a required software update will be completed in April.
Indian low-cost carrier IndiGo would now become the second operator to receive the A320neo. Last December, the carrier was notified of delays in the delivery due to “industrial reasons.” According to Brégier, the delivery is subject to “customer confirmation.”
“We are opening a new chapter in commercial aviation, and I am confident that the A320neo will support Lufthansa’s objective to raise its environmental performance. The A320neo not only cuts emissions at every operational stage but also halves its noise footprint compared to previous generation aircraft” Brégier said. The CEO is also confident that the 15% mark achieved to date will be taken to 20% by 2020 as the program matures.
This week, the first CFM-powered A321neo flew for the first time. Brégier announced that the PW variant is due to fly in March.
After the presentation, the A320neo took off from Hamburg- Finkenwerder in a special flight with flight number LH9917 with guests and media staff bound to Frankfurt, with a short stopover at Hamburg’s Fuhlsbüttel. The aircraft was adorned with a special logo. “First to fly A320neo – Less noise. Less fuel. Less CO2” placed at the rear fuselage.
Currently, Lufthansa has ordered a total of 116 A320neo family aircraft to be delivered in the next years. The airline is also getting ready to take delivery of its first A350 at the end of this year. According to Spohr, the German carrier is expected to receive 52 new aircraft during 2016.