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General-automatics

Airbus takes a leap with A320neo

New Delhi. The mood is upbeat in the Airbus camp with the first A320neo gearing up for its first flight in September this year, paving way for its Entry Into Service in the fourth quarter of 2015. The European aircraft manufacturer has come a long way since it handed over its very first aircraft an A300B2 in May 1974.

The A320neo – or New Engine Option – incorporates many innovations, including the latest generation engines and large Sharklet wing-tip devices, which together deliver 15 percent in fuel savings and a reduction of 3,600 tonnes of C02 per aircraft per year. With a total of nearly 2,700 orders received from more than 50 customers since its launch in 2010, the A320neo Family has captured some 60 percent of the market, clearly demonstrating its leadership.

Deliveries last year reflected the stepped-up A320 Family production at 42 per month, along with an A330 output at its highest rate ever of 10 monthly. The A380 is moving toward a break-even rate of 30 aircraft annually based on improved production processes that are now in place.

Airbus’ delivery of its 8,000th aircraft last year marked a new achievement as the company continues to accelerate the production output of its single-aisle and widebody jetliners in meeting demand from a widening global customer base. This delivery was very appropriately a member of the A320 Family, which is one of the world’s best-selling commercial aircraft product lines – with over 5,600 provided from the more than 9,600 ordered by 340-plus customers around the globe.

According to Airbus President and CEO Fabrice Brégier, the company is well positioned for the future, with 2014 milestones to include service entry of its next-generation A350 XWB extra wide-body jetliner, the maiden flight for the A320 single-aisle family’s Neo version, along with progress on certification for the A330’s increased takeoff weight and regional versions.

Airbus added 70 aircraft to its orderbook in May through transactions with both airlines and leasing companies for its A320 product line, while the month’s 55 deliveries involved all three aircraft series currently in production: the A320 Family, A330 and A380.

May’s bookings were led by an agreement with Singapore’s Tigerair for 37 A320neo jetliners while Royal Brunei Airlines ordered seven A320neo jetliners for use on the airline’s regional network. The other bookings in May were for VIP variants of the A320 Family, underscoring the continued demand for these versions of Airbus’ single-aisle aircraft. Topping the activity was US-based Delta’s order for 15 A321ceo versions to offset jet retirements.

Completing the month’s A320 family bookings were three A320ceo versions for BOC Aviation, two A320ceo aircraft each for easyJet and Aviation Capital Group, two A319ceo versions for Z/C Aviation Partners, one A320ceo for Air New Zealand and an A321ceo for AWAS.Taking cancellations into account, the net orders booked by Airbus during the first five months of 2014 totalled 203.

The deliveries this year involved 45 A320 Family aircraft, six A330s, and four A380s. Receiving the A380s in the highest monthly delivery volume so far this year were British Airways, Emirates, Lufthansa and South Korea’s Asiana Airlines, which became the 11th carrier adding this 21st century flagship jumbo to its fleet. At month-end, the combined total of Airbus deliveries in 2014 was 248 jetliners to 64 customers.

Airbus’ overall backlog in May stood at 5,514 aircraft, composed of 4,256 for the A320 Family of which 2,689 are for the A319, A320 and A321 NEO versions, along with 254 A330s, 812 A350s and 192 A380s leap from the backlog of 4,928 aircraft at end of May 2013.

And the news of the year is that Airbus is developing a regional version of A350 with which it could enter the lucrative regional aviation growing market, the need of the hour. Joost van der Heijden, Head of Airline Marketing of Airbus for India and Southeast Asia had in a recent interview to India Strategic informed that this version, with lower takeoff rate, lower landing and navigation speed and lower engine thrust for lower maintenance costs, will have 400 seats and the cabin will be tailored as required.

© India Strategic