On March 31, the newest addition to the A320 family, the A319neo, took flight. On its maiden journey, the aircraft made its way from the Airbus factory in Hamburg to Airbus’s headquarters in France to begin final prototype testing. This flight served to test handling and functionality of its main systems and to transport the plane to its testing location in Toulouse.
Orders & Features
The new aircraft is set to cost $99.5 million. As of today, Airbus has taken 55 orders for the new A319neo. Avianca and Frontier, the two largest customers for the new plane, have ordered 25 and 18 aircraft, respectively.
The new A319neo “new engine option” is the third, and also smallest, narrowbody A320 family member. The aircraft features room for 160 passengers, though the typical seating is set at around 124 passengers. This jet has a range of 4,200 nm, making it suitable for short- or medium-range flights. The A319neo has an 117.5 ft wingspan, a length of 111 feet, and a height of about 39 feet. The A319neo includes CFM International Leap-1A engines, which powered the maiden flight. Airbus, however, also offers this aircraft with Pratt & Whitney PW1100G geared turbofan engines. According to the manufacturer, the incorporation of new engines and Sharklet wingtips “delivers fuel savings of 15 percent.” In addition, the entire product line features reduced levels of NOx emissions and reduced noise.
Airbus NEO Jets
Airbus neo aircraft, in general, are “the latest of many product upgrades,” the company states, as it invests 300 million euros (about $320 million USD) into the A320 family for improvement. By 2020, according to the manufacturer, NEO jets will “deliver a 20 percent fuel burn improvement per seat,” and will be able to withstand “two tons more payload.”
Though the A319neo has a long road of tests and certifications ahead, the A320 family has already shown itself worthy in sales competition with the Boeing 737 family. Over the past few years, the A320 family has held about 59.4% of the mid-range narrow body market, compared to Boeing’s 40.6%. The new member of the A320 family will certainly increase competition between the two manufacturers.