MIAMI — Last weekend, ultra-low-cost carrier (ULCC) Spirit Airlines took delivery of its first Airbus A320neo (N901NK • MSN 6833) at Fort Lauderdale–Hollywood International Airport (FLL). This aircraft becomes the 90th aircraft in the fleet.
Spirit is the first airline in the United States to receive the new Airbus narrowbody variant, and it’s the first of 55 A320neo Family aircraft the low-cost carrier has ordered (five leased from AerCap, 50 ordered from Airbus).
Under a light rain on the ramp at FLL today, Airways had the opportunity to take a close look at the jetliner, coincidentally on the same day Airbus delivered its 10,000th aircraft.
Captain Jyri Strandman, Spirit Airlines VP of Flight Operations, praised the characteristics of the Pratt & Whitney Pure Power PW1100-JM, the Geared Turbo Fan engines selected to power Spirit Airlines’ A320neo fleet.
“The NEO is a much quieter and better experience,” He said. Strandman says the startup issues that plagued the early GTF’s aren’t presence on the Spirit fleet with the “neo spooling and startup time being within 10 seconds of the V2500s.”
Strandman was in charge of ferrying the first A320neo from Hamburg Finkenwerder, and highlighted the lower operational regime of the PW1100-JM when compared to the current engine options of the A320 —the IAE V2500 and the CFM56 engines. He claimed the aircraft burned 15.3 percent less fuel en route than the A320ceo on similar deliveries. He also commented that “The harmonics of the aircraft are so quiet that when the thrust is adjusting in-flight, at times it sounded like we went to idle power. When the APU is on, we can’t even hear the engines.”
The cabin is configured with Spirit’s new Acro slimline seats. The contour shape and pre-recline position proved surprisingly comfortable, belying the 28″ pitch and reduced padding. The slimline seating and the SpaceFlex lavatories allowed Spirit to densify its A320 seating from 178 to 182 passengers. The eight branded “Big Front Seats” remain. There is no USB power or connectivity onboard.
Around the aircraft there were several Spirit Airlines Flight Crew members, OCC, Customer Service, as well as representatives from Lufthansa Technik, FAA and EIS support specialists from Airbus and Pratt & Whitney.
Spirit will become the first airline in the U.S. to put the A320neo into service. The first Spirit’s A320neo will be initially deployed beginning next week on the routes from Los Angeles to Detroit, where Spirit has line maintenance, for a short time. The second A320neo, arriving Friday night from Toulouse via Goose Bay, will be assigned to operate between Dallas/Ft. Worth and Ft. Lauderdale.