The A321neo, the largest version of Airbus’ new fuel-efficient single-aisle aircraft series, has taken to the skies for the first time.
The maiden flight was conducted in the skies above Hamburg on 9 February, marking the start of a test programme that is expected to continue until the end the year.
The first A321neo is expected to be delivered to launch customer ALC, the US-based aircraft leasing company, in the fourth quarter of 2016.
To-date, Airbus has taken orders for 1,094 A321neos, comprising approximately a quarter of the total orders for the A320neo series. American Airlines is the largest airline customer for the model, with firm orders for 130 aircraft, followed by Wizz Air (110 aircraft), Turkish Airlines (92), Lion Air (65), Tigerair (37), Lufthansa (40) and Korean Air (30).
Other Asian customers include Cebu Pacific, Asiana Airlines, ANA, VietJet, Philippine Airlines and TransAsia Airways.
The A321neo will be able to carry approximately 206 passengers in a two-class configuration, with a range of 6,760km, but low-cost carriers could cram up to 240 economy class seats into each aircraft. Airbus is also developing a long-range version of the aircraft which will have a range of 7,400km, rivalling the Boeing 757.
The A320neo series is the fuel-efficient successor to the popular A320 aircraft, approximately 6,500 of which are currently operating around the world. The A320neos incorporate new engines, ‘Sharklet’ wing-tip devices and other aerodynamic improvements to deliver up to 20% in fuel savings.
The first ever A320neo was delivered to Lufthansa last month.
World’s first A350-1000 enters final assembly
Airbus’ first A350-1000 aircraft has entered final assembly at the company’s factory in Toulouse, France.
The A350-1000, which is the largest of the twin-aisle A350 series, is expected to take to the skies for its maiden flight before the end of 2016. Deliveries will start in mid-2017.
Airbus has taken orders for a total of 181 A350-1000s, from customers including Qatar Airways, United Airlines, Cathay Pacific, JAL, BA and Etihad. The aircraft will be able to carry approximately 366 passengers in a standard configuration.