MIAMI — After a month-long slip attributed to technical documentation issues, the first Airbus A320neo has been delivered today to launch operator Lufthansa.
In a ceremony held in Hamburg-Finkenwerder, Carsten Spohr, CEO of Deutsche Lufthansa AG, Airbus CEO Fabrice Brégier, David Hess, President of Pratt & Whitney and Robert Leduc, Executive Vice President and Chief Customer Officer Aerospace for United Technologies, celebrated the handover of the aircraft.
“We are happy that today we are the first airline worldwide to receive the Airbus A320neo. Featuring the leading technology of Airbus and Pratt & Whitney, the A320neo is by far the most efficient and most silent aircraft on short- and medium-haul routes.” stated Spohr.
The German carrier swapped deliveries with Doha-based Qatar Airways, after the airline declined to take delivery of the airliner due to of operational constraints in place for the Pratt & Whitney PW1100G engine. According to a report by Air Transport World, engines have to run in idle during at least three minutes before taxi roll, until an extended start-fix is finally implemented “within a matter of weeks.”
Unfortunately for Airbus, this technical issue and its documentation caused the company to miss its target of having the first A320neo delivered in December by just a few weeks.
The first Lufthansa Airbus A320neo (D-AINA / MSN 6801) is expected to be transferred to its future home base in Frankfurt later this week, ahead to its first commercial flight to Hamburg expected to take place on January 24. In addition to Hamburg, Munich will also be one of the first destinations of the airliner.
The ‘neo’ or ‘new engine option’ is an upgrade of Airbus popular single aisle family which also includes other enhancements intended to improve fuel efficiency and range of the plane. According to Airbus, the A320neo should be 15% more efficient than the current engine option or ‘ceo’.
“This occasion marks a new step forward to delivering on our promises and meeting our industry’s goal for sustainable aviation. The A320neo embodies Airbus’ passion and commitment to deliver maximum value and efficiency to our customers through continuous innovations” said Fabrice Brégier.
To date, Airbus has received 4,471 orders from nearly 80 operators since the launch of the A320neo program in 2010. According to the company, the A320neo family aircraft currently holds some 60 percent share of the single-aisle market in the range of 140 – 240 seats. Plans are to ramp up the production to 60 aircraft a month before the end of a decade, in a move supported by record numbers in firm orders amid a strong global demand for the type.