Airbus A320neo family

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A320neo family
A319neo/A320neo/A321neo
Logo Airbus A320neo.svg
A twin-engined jet aircraft with distinctive winglets, in blue and white livery, against a blue sky
An Airbus A320neo of IndiGo, the largest operator
Role Narrow-body airliner
National origin Multi-national
Manufacturer Airbus
First flight 25 September 2014
Introduction 25 January 2016 with Lufthansa[1]
Status In service
Primary users IndiGo
China Southern Airlines
Frontier Airlines
easyJet
Produced 2012–present[2]
Number built 1,909 as of August 2021[3]
Developed from Airbus A320ceo family

The Airbus A320neo family (neo for new engine option) is a development of the A320 family of narrow-body airliners produced by Airbus. The A320neo family is based on the previous A319, A320 and A321 (Enhanced variant), which was renamed to A320ceo, for "current engine option".

Re-engined with CFM LEAP-1A or Pratt & Whitney PW1000G engines and fitted with sharklets as standard, it is 15% to 20% more fuel efficient than the A320ceo (Enhanced) family. It was launched on 1 December 2010, made its first flight on 25 September 2014 and was introduced by Lufthansa on 25 January 2016.

By 2019, the A320neo had a 60% market share against the competing Boeing 737 MAX.[4] As of August 2021, a total of 7,563 A320neo family aircraft had been ordered by more than 115 airlines, of which 1,909 aircraft had been delivered.[3]

Development[edit]

The wing sharklet of an A320neo aircraft. These sharklets are also optional add-ons for the classic A320 family.

In 2006 Airbus started the A320 Enhanced (A320E) programme as a series of improvements targeting a 4–5% efficiency gain with large winglets (2%), aerodynamic refinements (1%), weight savings and a new aircraft cabin. At the time Airbus' Sales Chief John Leahy said "Who's going to roll over a fleet to a new generation aircraft for 5% better than an A320 today? Especially if another 10% improvement might be coming in the second half of the next decade based on new engine technology".[5]

Airbus launched the sharklet blended wingtip device during the November 2009 Dubai Airshow. The installation adds 200 kilograms (440 lb) but offers a 3.5% fuel burn reduction on flights over 2,800 km (1,500 nmi).[6]

New Engine Option[edit]

Compared to the re-engine improvement of 15%, an all-new single-aisle would have brought only 3% more gain while high volume manufacturing in carbon fibre could be much more expensive.[7]

At the February 2010 Singapore Air Show, Airbus said its decision to launch was scheduled for the July 2010 Farnborough Air Show.[8] The decision had still not been taken by August, but the engine choice included the CFM International LEAP-1A and the Pratt & Whitney PW1000G, with 20% lower maintenance cost than current A320 engines. The new engines burn 16% less fuel, though the actual gain is slightly less as 1–2% is typically lost when installed on an existing aircraft.[9]

On 1 December 2010, Airbus launched the A320neo "New Engine Option" with 500 nmi (930 km) more range or 2 t (4,400 lb) more payload, and planned to deliver 4,000 over 15 years.[10] Development costs were predicted to be "slightly more than €1 billion [$1.3 billion]". The neo list price would be $6 million more than the ceo, including $3.5 million for airframe modifications and around $0.9 million for the sharklets. The A320neo was slated for service entry in spring 2016, the A321neo six months later and the A319neo six months after that.[11]

The 2010 order for 40 Bombardier CS300s (now known as Airbus A220-300) and 40 options from Republic Airways Holdings – then owner of exclusive A319/320 operator Frontier Airlines – pushed Airbus into the re-engine. Airbus COO-customers John Leahy decided against ignoring the CSeries and allowing it to grow, as Boeing had previously done with Airbus, and instead aggressively competed against Bombardier Aerospace.[12]

Introduction was then advanced to October 2015.[13] Airbus claims a 15% fuel saving and "over 95 percent airframe commonality with the current A320".[14] Its commonality helped to reduce delays associated with large changes.[15] In March 2013, airlines' choices between the two engines were almost equal.[16]

The new "Space-Flex" optional cabin configuration increases space-efficiency with a new rear galley configuration and a "Smart-Lav" modular lavatory design – allowing an in-flight change of two lavatories into one accessible toilet.[17] The rearranged cabin allows up to 20 more passengers for the A321neo without "putting more sardines in the can" with the larger "Cabin-Flex" modified exits described below.[18] Total fuel consumption per seat is reduced by over 20%, while the rearranged cabin allows up to nine more passengers for the A320neo.[19]

The first Airbus A320neo rolled out of the Toulouse factory on 1 July 2014 and first flight was scheduled for September 2014.[20]

Flight testing[edit]

Celebrating the 25 September 2014 first flight with flags from the cockpit

The first flight of the neo occurred on 25 September 2014.[21] Its Pratt & Whitney PW1100G-JM geared turbofan ('GTF') engine was certified by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) on 19 December 2014.[22] After 36 months, the A320neo and A321neo had flown around 4,000 hours for certification of the two powerplant versions.[23] This is about three-quarters of the certification effort of a new design.[24]

Of these 4,000 hours flown, 2,250 were with PW GTFs and 1,770 with CFM LEAPs. The flight test programme was to conclude in 2018 with the completion of A319neo testing. The changes impact flying qualities, performance and system integration; they entailed retuning the fly-by-wire controls and meeting type certification requirements which have evolved since 1988, and helped decrease the minimum V speeds. The neo is 1.8 t heavier than the ceo, but take-off and landing performance is the same with a modified rotation law, adjusted wing flap and wing slat angles and rudder deflection increased by 5° to cope with the higher thrust.[25]

The A320neo is half as loud as an A320 at take-off, with an 85 decibel noise footprint.[26] The LEAP-powered A321neo has 83.3 dB flyover noise, substantially lower than the older CFM56 and V2500.[27]

Production[edit]

Qatar Airways A320neos waiting for their engines.

First delivery slipped to early 2016.[28] Lufthansa took delivery of the first A320neo on 20 January 2016.[29] Two hundred deliveries were targeted in 2017, but as Pratt & Whitney faced ramp-up difficulties, Airbus expected that 30 aircraft would have to be parked awaiting engines. The fourth and latest final assembly line in Hamburg was to open in July 2017; 60 A320s should be produced monthly from 2019.[30]

With 90 A320neos delivered by October 2017, Airbus acknowledged that it would not attain the 200 target, even with many deliveries in the fourth quarter. More than 40 A320neos were parked without engines, but with most of the engine issues resolved by early 2018, more than half of the A320s delivered in 2018 were expected to be neos.[31] Airbus expected to produce 60 narrow-bodies per month by the middle of 2019 and studied higher rates.[32] Airbus confirmed plans to reach 63 monthly from 55 in 2018 and study 70 to 75 monthly beyond 2019, though Safran, one of the two partners in LEAP producer CFM, could not commit to higher volumes.[33]

In February 2018, after in-flight failures of the PW1100G with its high pressure compressor aft hub modified, apparently caused by problems with its knife edge seal, European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) and Airbus grounded some A320neo family aircraft until they were fitted with spares.[34] As of February 2018, P&W engines had flown 500,000 hours since introduction and 113 P&W-powered A320neo family aircraft were operated by eight customers.[34] Airbus then stopped accepting PW1100G engines.[35]

Deliveries of GTF-powered A320neos resumed in May after Pratt returned to the original design seal as a quick fix.[36] By the end of June, Airbus expected to have around 100 A320neos awaiting engines and aimed to deliver most of them in the second half of the year, for a total of over 800 aircraft handed over in 2018.[36] In the first five months of 2018, 69 had been delivered: 40% of all single-aisles, and almost 80% with CFM LEAP engines, but the 22 delivered in May were equally split between the two power plants.[37]

After the three-month halt, the goal of 210 GTF-powered deliveries in 2018 was expected to be missed by 30–40 unless Pratt could accelerate production, exposing itself and Airbus to late penalties.[38] Airbus COO Guillaume Faury aimed to do away with "gliders", i.e. airframes without engines, by the end of 2018. Bernstein Research had forecast 50 fewer deliveries than planned and expected a return to normal by 2019.[38] Delivery targets could still be met with other engine options (neo or ceo), as 210 Leap-powered jets were planned.[38] After having peaked above 100, the number of aircraft parked awaiting their turbofans declined to 86 by the end of June.[39] The 500th A320neo family aircraft was delivered in October 2018.[40]

In July 2019, with the A321neo accounting for 40% of sales, Airbus was examining options for allocating more production capacity to the stretched variant. It acknowledged that ramping up production of the popular Airbus Cabin Flex configuration was proving challenging.[41] All A321s are currently assembled in Hamburg; one option under consideration would be to repurpose the A380 assembly line in Toulouse.[42] In the first half of 2019, Airbus delivered 294 A320/A320neo-family aircraft, of which 71 were A321neos and 163 were A320neos[3] (i.e. A321neos accounted for 30% of neo deliveries).

In January 2020, Airbus confirmed that the A380 assembly line is to be converted to a "digitally enabled" final assembly facility for the A321neo by mid-2022,[43] because of unprecedented demand, in particular for the A321 LR and XLR variants.[44] In February, it indicated that it had a clear path to increasing production rates beyond the 63 per month targeted for 2021, to reach 65 or 67 by 2023.[45] In April, Airbus reduced the average production rate to 40 per month due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on aviation.[46]

In February 2021 Airbus set up a separate production line in Hamburg for A321XLR aft fuselage work, in a facility formerly used to assemble fuselage sections for the A380. The goal is to enable production of the XLR-specific aft fuselage to ramp up gradually without affecting other A320neo-family production output. Other A321XLR sections are to be produced at numerous sites: the centre wing box at Airbus's Nantes facility, the rear centre tank at Premium Aerotec in Augsburg, the nose and forward fuselage built at Stelia Aerospace in Toulouse then assembled in Saint-Nazaire, and the wings at Airbus Broughton in cooperation with Spirit Aerosystems and FACC [de] which provide high-lift devices.[47]

In May 2021, Airbus targeted a production rate of 45 per month by the end of 2021, 64 by the second quarter of 2023, asked its supply chain to allow a rate of 70 from the first quarter of 2024 and is looking for 75 by 2025.[48]

Early operations[edit]

Lufthansa confirms the 16% fuel savings but had to block the last seating row due to centre-of-gravity concerns

By January 2019, three years after its introduction, 585 neos were in commercial service with over 60 operators, led by IndiGo (87), Frontier Airlines (33) and China Southern (26). Lufthansa confirms the PW 16% fuel savings, 21% per seat with denser 180-seat layout up from 168, while Avianca states its LEAPs are 15-20% more efficient, quieter, reduce oil consumption and routine maintenance. Starting both GTFs initially took 6-7 min up from the A320ceo's 2 min, improving to 2-3 min by late 2017, still longer than the ceo. LEAP production bottlenecks led to early delivery delays, with no significant repercussions at Avianca or AirAsia; AirAsia's dispatch reliability is comparable to its ceos.[49]

Engine vibration affects one GTF in 50, leading to premature replacement, but spare engine pools compete with new production: at Lufthansa, dispatch reliability has remained stagnant since service entry and is below its 99.8% goal, with a utilization rate 20% below its ceos. P&W cites a 99.91% dispatch reliability for GTF-powered neos, higher than other new engine introductions, while Airbus reports a 99.6% dispatch reliability. With engine deliveries resuming, there were expected to be fewer than 10 engine-less neos at the end of 2018; Airbus is on track to reach its target rate of 60 deliveries per month by mid-2019. Of the 6,362 orders, 2,456 are for CFM LEAP engines (38.6%), 1,869 for Pratt & Whitney GTFs (29.4%), and 2,037 for an as-yet unspecified engine choice (32%).[49] By 30 June 2019, Safran claimed the Leap has a 61% market share on the A320neo family, with 44 airlines operating 454 Leap powered aircraft having accumulated 3.3 million flight hours.[50]

In July 2019, Airbus disclosed two outwardly similar, though separate, issues which could result in excessive pitch up behaviour, one affecting the A320neo and the other the A321neo. Both issues were detected during analysis and laboratory testing, and have not been encountered in actual operation. Airbus has addressed the issues through temporary revisions to the flight manual, including loading recommendations and a change to the centre-of-gravity envelope, and will release updated flight control software in 2020.[51][52] As Lufthansa waits for the 2020 flight software update, it blocked the last row of its aft-heavy layout of 180, offering only 174 seats.[53]

Variants[edit]

Airbus offers three variants of the A320neo family: the A319, A320 and A321. A neo variant for the Airbus A318 was not proposed but could be developed should demand arise.[54]

A319neo[edit]

An A319neo prototype in flight.

The shortened-fuselage variant can seat up to 160 passengers or 140 in two classes, with a range of up to 3,750 nmi (6,940 km) and improved takeoff performance, while its ACJ derivative can fly eight passengers 6,750 nmi (12,500 km) or 15 hours.[55]

Qatar Airways was set to be launch customer but upgraded its order to the larger A320neo in late 2013.[56] No new launch operator has been named since. Spirit has since ordered 47 new A319 NEO aircraft, and Spirit may be the launch customer.[57][58]

It made its first flight on 31 March 2017, powered by CFM LEAP engines.[59] After 500 flight hours, the LEAP-powered A319neo achieved FAA/EASA Type Certification by 21 December 2018, allowing it to enter service in the first half of 2019.[55] At the time, there were 53 orders, including 17 with Leap engines: 12 for Avianca, four for an unconfirmed Chinese operator, and one ACJ319neo; and 36 with no engine selection: eight for Avianca, 26 for unannounced customers, and two ACJ319neos.[60] As of December 2018, certification of the PW1100G-powered version was targeted for the end of 2019, with the same test aircraft to be converted during the first quarter and undergo 200 hours of flight testing.[61] In 2018, an A319neo list price was US$101.5 million.[62]

Interest in the variant has been low, and in January 2019 the A319neo's order backlog was only a fraction of that of the A220, following confirmation of orders from JetBlue and Moxy for 60 A220s each.[63] Also in January 2019, Airbus confirmed that, while it expects fewer orders due to competition with the A220-300, it has no plans to discontinue the A319neo.[64]

The Pratt & Whitney-powered variant made its maiden flight on 25 April 2019.[65] It gained EASA type certification by the end of November 2019, after 90 sorties over 240 h.[66]

As of May 2021, the ACJ319neo has accumulated 6 orders.[67]

A320neo[edit]

An Airbus A320neo prototype
Lufthansa was the first to fly the A320neo in early 2016

Timeline[edit]

The first A320neo rolled out of the Airbus factory in Toulouse on 1 July 2014.[68] It first flew on 25 September 2014.[69] A joint type certification from EASA and the FAA was received on 24 November 2015.[70] Nearly 28 years after the first A320, on 25 January 2016, the A320neo entered service with Lufthansa, the type's launch customer.[1]

Reliability[edit]

Six months later at Farnborough Airshow, John Leahy reported that the eight in-service aircraft had achieved 99.7% dispatch reliability.[71] By the end of February 2017, 28,105 scheduled flights had been performed by 71 A320neo aircraft with 134 cancellations for a 99.5% completion rate.[72] Spirit Airlines reported PW1000G engine issues on four of its A320neos and did not fly them above 30,000 ft (9,100 m) because the bleed air system froze shut on occasion due to cold temperatures; the same problem was reported by IndiGo.[73]

Efficiency[edit]

After a year in service, Lufthansa confirmed the 20% efficiency gain per passenger with up to 180 seats, along with reduced noise and CO
2
emissions.[26] Operators confirm the 15% per seat fuel-burn savings even counterbalanced by the added weight on short sectors, which can rise to 16–17% on longer routes and to 20% or more for Lufthansa with 180 passengers up from 168 with two more seat rows.[74]

Deliveries[edit]

By March 2017, 88 A320neos had been delivered to 20 airlines, 49 with the PW1000G and 39 with the CFM LEAP-1A, and the fleet had accumulated more than 57,600 flight hours and 37,500 cycles (1.5h average); over 142 routes the average stage length is 900 nmi (1,700 km; 1,000 mi) and like the A320ceo the neo flies an average of 8.4 block hours and up to 10 cycles a day with Lufthansa operating 45 min sectors from Frankfurt to Hamburg or Munich, up to China Southern Airlines flying close to 6 hr sectors. Airbus plans to deliver about 200 A320neos in 2017.[74] In 2018, new A320neos have a $49 million value, rising by 1-2% per year, and are leased for $330,000-350,000 per month (0.67-0.71%) due to intense lessor competition and low financing costs, while a recent A320ceo is leased for $300,000.[75] In 2018, an A320neo list price was US$110.6 million.[62]

Military A320M3A[edit]

In July 2018, Airbus was evaluating an A320neo variant for ISR missions, particularly maritime patrol and anti-submarine warfare, and military transport. The aircraft will be able to take roll-on/roll-off mission payloads to carry passengers, troops, VIPs, patients, or cargo. The aircraft could be fitted with a weapons bay, a self-protection system, or a magnetic anomaly detector and could be configured for signals intelligence or Airborne Early Warning and Control.[76]

A321neo[edit]

An A321neo prototype with the original exit configuration of four door pairs
Virgin America received the first A321neo and put it into service in May 2017

This lengthened fuselage variant has structural strengthening in the landing gear and wing, increased wing loading and other minor modifications due to higher Maximum Takeoff Weight (MTOW).

Its first customer was ILFC.[77] The Airbus A321neo prototype, D-AVXB, first flew on 9 February 2016.[78] It suffered a tailstrike three days later and was flown to Toulouse for repairs, delaying the certification programme for several weeks.[79]

It received its type certification with Pratt & Whitney engines on 15 December 2016,[80] and simultaneous EASA and FAA certification for the CFM Leap powered variant on 1 March 2017.[81] The first A321neo, leased by GECAS, was delivered in Hamburg to Virgin America, configured with 184 seats and LEAP engines, and entered service in May 2017.[82]

The neo empty weight is 1.8t more than the ceo due to new engines and associated airframe modifications: engine pylons, wing structure and bleed and oil systems were adapted. At the same maximum weight, it reaches FL310 30-nm before and 4 min earlier than the CEO.[24]

At FL330 (10 000 m), ISA −2 °C (28 °F) and 67 t (148,000 lb), it burns 2,200 kilograms per hour (4,850 lb/h) at Mach 0.76 / 515 miles per hour (829 km/h) long-range cruise or 2,440 kg/h (5,400 lb/h) at Mach 0.80 / 542 miles per hour (872 km/h) high-speed cruise. To offer similar takeoff performance, pitch response to stick input is a rate-command to hit the 3°/sec rotation rate to capture the right pitch attitude and there is an "electronic tail bumper" preventing a tailstrike if the stick is less than three-quarters of the way aft; additional thrust, slower rotation and lift-off speeds require more rudder authority and its maximum deflection went from 25° to 30°.[23]

By January 2018, the A321neo had received 1,920 orders, exceeding orders for the A321ceo. By this time the A321neo accounted for 32% of all A320neo family orders, whereas the original A321 represented just 22% of A320ceo family orders. A stretch would probably involve fore and aft plugs to keep its centre-of-gravity, but tailstrike clearance could constrain field speed and performance and a larger aircraft could need more powerful engines, while further cabin crew would be needed over 250 seats.[83] In 2018, an A321neo list price was US$129.5 million.[62]

Stretching it by one or two rows would be needed to compete with the Boeing NMA, a concept airliner: its take-off weight could increase to 100 t (220,000 lb) by tweaking its wing and strengthening its landing gear, requiring more engine thrust; or it could receive a lighter and larger new wing, more costly to develop but with the same thrust.[84]

Delivery delays[edit]

Hawaiian Airlines' A321neos were delivered late.

As Pratt & Whitney encountered early reliability issues with the PW1100G, retrofitting fixes affected the deliveries. Cebu Pacific was due to add its first three A321neos to its 40 A320ceos by the end of 2017 but agreed to postpone them; it was to receive seven A321ceos in 2018, starting in March, to upgauge A320 routes from slot-constrained Manila Airport and redeploy some of its international A330s to shorter-haul routes. Air New Zealand has at least seven A321neos in its 13 A320-family orders, increasing seating capacity by 27% over A320ceos currently used on short-haul international routes, mainly to Australia; the neos will be delayed until July 2018 for the A320neos and September 2018 for the A321neos with a new, higher density and some A320ceo leases will be extended for the interim.[85]

Hawaiian's first two A321neos were to have been delivered in 2017 before its upcoming winter peak season but were postponed to early 2018, a "frustrating" and "irritating" delay, with another nine in 2018, mostly in the first half. They are intended to open up thinner routes to the U.S. mainland not viable with its widebodies, such as Portland to Maui, or better matched and allowing two routes to be expanded to daily service instead of seasonal, bypassing its Honolulu hub for half of the A321neo fleet.[85]

Well suited for 2,100–2,300 nmi (3,900–4,300 km) routes to the US west coast, Hawaiian's 189-seat A321neos are more efficient than the competing narrow-body aircraft and even have slightly lower per-seat costs than its 294-seat A330-200s.[86]

Cabin Flex[edit]

By permanently replacing the second door pair in front of the wing (R2/L2) with a new second pair of overwing exits, the capacity of the A321neo is increased from 220 seats to 240 seats and fuel efficiency per seat is increased by 6%, exceeding 20% together with the new engines and the sharklets.[19] The modifications should weigh 100 kg more.[87] Initial A321neos have the A321ceo exit door configuration with four exit door pairs until the Airbus Cabin-Flex (ACF) layout can be selected.[88]

The third door pair (R3/L3), aft of the wings, is moved aft four frames back and could be plugged for 195 seats or less, and one overwing exit can be plugged for 165 seats or less.[89] In October 2017, the first A321neo ACF was in final assembly in Hamburg.[90] It was rolled out on 5 January 2018, and will be ground tested before first flight in the following weeks. It was to be delivered in mid-2018 and the optional layout will become the A321neo default from 2020.[91] It made its first flight on 31 January 2018.[92]

The ACF exit limit is 250 passengers, but the aircraft is available for up to 240 passengers; it could be offered for 244 or potentially beyond by integrating flight attendant seats in the lavatories outside wall to allow additional passenger seats.[93] The EASA allows 244 passengers with "overperforming" Type C exits at both ends, two Type III overwing exits, a Type C mid-cabin exit and a separate approval for individual customised cabin layouts. The FAA would limit it to 200 as the mid-cabin exit would be derated to a Type III exit: 65 each for Type C doors at the ends plus 70 for all the Type III exits; Airbus seeks an exemption to increase it to 105 for 235 passengers for the aircraft.[94] Four different door-arrangement configurations are noted below.

A321LR[edit]

Arkia received the first A321LR on 13 November 2018, with a black windshield frame.

In October 2014, Airbus started marketing a 164-seat, 97 t (214,000 lb) MTOW variant with three auxiliary fuel tanks called the A321neoLR (Long Range) with 100 nmi (190 km; 120 mi) more operational range than a Boeing 757-200 configured with 169 seats, 27% lower trip costs and 24% lower per seat costs; it was scheduled for introduction in the second half of 2018, two years after the A321neo.[95]

Airbus launched the A321LR on 13 January 2015 with Air Lease Corporation as the launch customer, hoping to sell 1,000 examples of the variant.[96] The initial layout of 164 seats (20 in business, 30 in premium economy and 114 in economy) was replaced by a two-class 206-seat configuration (16 in business and 190 in economy). Range is 4,000 nmi (7,400 km), 500 nmi (930 km) farther than the regular 93.5t MTOW A321neo.[87] The A321LR is replacing the 757 in the middle of the market.[97] The A321LR will have the Cabin Flex layout and was to be first delivered in Q4 2018.[98]

Certification is aimed for the second quarter of 2018, with a programme including tests with one, two, three, or no additional centre tanks and a transatlantic flight on 13 February.[99] Test flights included a Leap-powered, long range 4,100 nmi (7,600 km) flight by great circle distance, flown in near 11 h and the equivalent of 162 passengers over 4,700 nmi (8,700 km) including headwinds, with five crew and 11 technicians.[100]

Airbus announced its joint FAA/EASA certification on 2 October 2018, including ETOPS up to 180 min allowing any transatlantic route.[101] As original launch operator Primera Air ceased operations, the first will be delivered to Israeli carrier Arkia, while 120 orders have been secured from about 12 operators: Norwegian, TAP Air Portugal, Air Transat, Aer Lingus, Air Astana, Air Arabia and Azores Airlines will receive theirs from 2019, and Jetstar and Peach in 2020.[102] On 13 November 2018, Arkia received the first A321LR, featuring 220 seats in a single-class and to be deployed to London, Paris, Barcelona for up to 5h sectors, or to Zanzibar and the Seychelles, saying it is the first narrow-body more efficient than the 757-300 it operates.[103]

In April 2019, JetBlue announced its intention to use the A321LR on routes to London from Boston and New York City; the airline has converted 13 of its orders for the A321neo to the A321LR to serve these routes.

A321XLR[edit]

In January 2018, Airbus stated that it was studying an A321LR variant with a further increased MTOW needing a strengthened landing gear. With a lower-density cabin it was expected to fly almost 5,000 nmi (9,300 km).[93] It would cover more of the market segment likely to be targeted by the Boeing NMA. The proposed A321XLR with a range extended to 4,500 nmi (8,300 km) would be launched in 2019 to enter service in 2021 or 2022. Integrated in the fuselage to save weight, the centre fuel tank would be enlarged. As of July 2018, about 200–300 nmi of the targeted range increase had already been secured; additional work would be needed to achieve the remaining 200 nmi.[104]

In October 2018, the A321XLR was proposed to Air Transat and AerCap: Air Transat could reach Southern European destinations such as Split, Croatia from Montreal and Toronto.[105] In November, Airbus indicated that the A321XLR would have a MTOW of over 100 t (220,000 lb) and 700 nmi (1,300 km) more range than the A321LR with the same wing and engines, increased fuel capacity and strengthened landing gear.[106] In January 2019, Air Canada expressed interest in using narrow-body aircraft for transatlantic routes and was considering options including the A321XLR and the Boeing 737 MAX.[107]

The A321XLR was officially launched at the Paris Air Show on 17 June 2019, with deliveries expected from 2023. Its design offers 4,700 nmi (8,700 km) of range and features a new permanent Rear Centre Tank (RCT) for more fuel, a strengthened landing gear for a 101 t (223,000 lb) MTOW, and an optimised wing trailing-edge flap to preserve take-off performance.[108] The RCT will hold 12,900 l (3,400 US gal) of fuel, the equivalent of four 3,121 l (824 US gal) current ACTs, while it weighs like one and takes up the space of two; a forward ACT can also be fitted if necessary.[109] As the sharklets lowered take-off and landing speeds, the switch from a double-slotted to single-slotted inboard flap will reduce complexity, weight and drag, and the FMS can set intermediate flap positions; the revised design could be applied to other A321neo variants.[110]

Orders from several lessors and airlines were announced at the show, starting with Middle East Airlines, which ordered four A321XLRs, making it the launch airline customer.[111] Air Lease Corporation ordered twenty-seven A321XLRs alongside twenty-three other A321neos and fifty A220-300s.[112] IAG quoted a $142 million list price as it committed to 28 aircraft, including eight for Iberia, six for Aer Lingus, plus 14 options.[113] Qantas Group placed an order for 36 XLRs, to be operated on routes between Australia and Asia, and is also set to be one of the launch customers.[114] American Airlines converted 30 A321neo orders to XLRs and ordered an additional 20 XLRs.[115] Indigo Partners also placed an order for 50 XLRs for its airline divisions and Frontier Airlines ordered 18, bringing the total number of commitments announced at the show to 243.[116]

Some are cautious about the potential market: Lufthansa sees the variant as a "niche aircraft" less comfortable than widebodies, and a large lessor is hesitant as it expects a 400–500 aircraft market. Airbus argues that the minimal changes mean it can be used as a regular A321neo and ALC forecast potential for 50 operators in the next five years. The XLR needs 10–15% more work than an ACF, itself requiring 30% more work than a standard A321neo. Engines used for now generate 33,000 lbf (150 kN) of thrust and could be sufficient, and no more than the 35,000 lbf (160 kN) already certified are needed for the XLR. The XLR is a low-risk, high-commonality variant but more substantial upgrades could include a composite wing or a stretch, and the market could prefer shorter turnaround times to more range.[117]

On 29 October 2019, IndiGo placed a firm order for 300 A320neo Family aircraft comprising a mix of A320neo, A321neoLR and A321XLR aircraft, taking IndiGo's total number of A320neo family aircraft orders to 730.[118] Airbus monthly reports lists the 300 order as 87 A320neo and 213 A321neoLR/A321XLR.[119][120] On 3 December 2019, United Airlines announced an order to purchase 50 new Airbus A321XLR aircraft, with deliveries beginning in 2024, to replace their Boeing 757-200 fleet. Valued at $7.1 billion before discounts, United plans to use these aircraft for additional destinations in Europe from its East Coast hubs in Washington and Newark, New Jersey.[121]

By April 2020, 450 orders for the XLR had been received from 24 customers. Airbus had cut the first metal for the centre wingbox, while Safran had begun undercarriage forgings production. Premium Aerotec will manufacture the specific aft centre fuel tank primary structure, Spirit AeroSystems will build the inboard single-slotted flap, FACC AG will produce a modified belly fairing, while Collins Aerospace and Parker Aerospace are developing the fuel systems.[122] By August 2020, Premium Aerotec had started producing the rear centre tank for the first A321XLR in Augsburg, to be transferred to Airbus's Hamburg plant in early 2021.[123]

By April 2021, a standard A321LR fuselage section had been withdrawn from the Hamburg production line for use as a "pre-industrial system accelerator" to test the integration of XLR-specific systems; at Saint-Nazaire, a nose section was serving as an integration test bed for a new instrument panel assembly, before being used to analyse structural reinforcements needed for the XLR.[124] By then, Airbus had completed the first centre wing box 16 months after the first metal cuts, with 200 modifications from the standard design, delivered from Nantes to Hamburg for structural assembly.[125]

Airbus Corporate Jets[edit]

Airbus A320neo Corporate Jet slowing at Hamburg Finkenwerder after performing its first flight

Two Airbus Corporate Jets variants are offered: the ACJ319neo, carrying eight passengers up to 6,750 nmi/12,500 km, and the ACJ320neo, carrying 25 up to 6,000 nmi/11,100 km. The CFM LEAP or Pratt & Whitney PW1100G lower fuel-burn provides additional range along with lower engine noise while the cabin altitude does not exceed 6,400 ft (2,000 m). To increase its fuel capacity, the ACJ319neo is offered with up to five additional centre tanks (ACT).[126]

The first ACJ320neo was delivered in January 2019, with deliveries of the ACJ319neo expected to start a few months later.[127] On 25 April 2019, the ACJ319neo, outfitted with five ACTs, completed its first flight, before a short test campaign and subsequent delivery to German K5 Aviation.[128] The following day, the aircraft completed an endurance test flight lasting 16 hours and 10 minutes and setting a record for the longest A320-family flight by an Airbus crew.[129]

Successor[edit]

By November 2018, Airbus was hiring in Toulouse and Madrid to develop a clean sheet successor for the A320. Although its launch was not guaranteed, it was expected to arrive from the middle of the following decade, after the A321XLR and a stretched A320neo "plus", and would have competed with the Boeing NMA that was, at the time, expected to be launched as early as 2019. Service entry would be determined by ultra-high bypass ratio engine developments pursued by Pratt & Whitney, testing its Geared Turbofan upgrade; Safran, ground testing a demonstrator from 2021; and Rolls-Royce Plc, targeting a 2025 Ultrafan service entry. The production target is a monthly rate of 100 narrow-bodies, up from 60.[130]

At the November 2019 Dubai air show, Airbus chief executive Guillaume Faury said the company was considering the launch of a single-aisle programme in the second half of the 2020s for an introduction in the early 2030s.[131]

Future-wing project and A322[edit]

In 2015, Airbus started a new wing project,[132] announced as the "Wing of the future" programme in 2017.[133] A new 1-2 billion carbon-composite wing could be used in the A321neo-plus-plus, compared to $15 billion for a completely new design.[134] The new wing is made from composite material.[135] It is first seen as an upgrade to the existing, mostly metal A320 family wing, which was already upgraded many times.[132] Airbus has already composite wings on the A350, but this will be an enhanced, new design with highly automated manufacturing suitable for inexpensive high-volume production.[136] Announced in January 2016, a €44.8 million facility was built in Filton, with 300 engineers.[137] The new wing design and tests take place in this Filton facility.[133] Other Airbus locations in the UK, France, Spain and Germany are working with 30 partners on this wing project.[138]

In May 2021, Airbus announced that for improved aerodynamic performance the wing will be longer and thinner with folding wingtips to access existing airport gates.[132] By May 2021, assembly of the first demonstrator was to start in the coming weeks, as the project should be completed by 2023 before an eventual product launch.[132] A “radical” A320 makeover is expected to cost over 4 billion euros ($4.9 billion), significantly less than the estimates of $15 billion to $20 billion for an all-new Boeing design.[132] Due to the increased length and increased lift, the new wings could also be used on an Airbus A322, an A321 lengthened by 4 passenger seat-rows, being studied by Airbus.[132]

Orders and deliveries[edit]

At the A320neo programme launch on 1 December 2010, Airbus anticipated "a market potential of 4,000 A320neo Family aircraft over the next 15 years".[10] In less than a year, by the November 2011 Dubai Airshow, the family had reached 1,420 orders and commitments, making it the "fastest selling aircraft ever".[139] By March 2013, a little over two years after launch, It had received 2,000 orders.[140] At the first jet delivery in January 2016, the family had received almost 4,500 orders from nearly 80 customers.[141] As of May 2017 it had 5,052 orders : 49 A319neos (1%), 3,617 A320neos (72%) and 1,386 A321neos (27%), with 1,712 of them powered by CFM LEAPs (34%), 1,429 by PW GTFs (28%) and 1,911 undisclosed (38%).[25]

A320neo orders and deliveries (as of August 2021)[142]
2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019 2020 2021 Total
Orders A319neo 26 19 2 3 5 −21 9 -6 47 -5 73
A320neo 30 1,081 378 387 824 583 343 507 352 192 75 -63 3,847
A321neo 119 81 341 183 301 363 418 155 476 141 180 3,643
Total 30 1,226 478 728 1,009 887 711 925 562 672 263 112 7,563
Deliveries A319neo 2 0 1 3
A320neo 68 161 284 391 253 163 1,310
A321neo 20 102 168 178 128 596
Total 68 181 386 561 431 292 1,909

Cumulative A320neo family orders and deliveries (as of August 2021)[142]

Orders

Deliveries

2011[edit]

In early January 2011, IndiGo reached a memorandum of understanding (MoU) for 150 A320neos along 30 A320ceos.[143][144] On 17 January, Virgin America became the launch customer, ordering 60 A320s including 30 A320neos.[145]

At the June 2011 Paris Air Show, it gathered 667 commitments worth US$60.9 billion, raising the backlog to 1,029.[146] Malaysian low-cost carrier AirAsia ordered 200, the largest commercial aviation order at the time.[147] IndiGo confirmed its 150 order.[148] Airbus received orders from GECAS, Scandinavian Airlines, TransAsia Airways, IndiGo, LAN Airlines, AirAsia, GoAir, Air Lease Corporation and Avianca.

On 20 July 2011, American Airlines announced an order for 460 narrowbody jets including 130 A320ceos and 130 A320neos, and intended to order 100 re-engined 737 with CFM LEAPs, pending Boeing confirmation.[149] The order broke Boeing's monopoly with the airline and forced Boeing into the re-engined 737 MAX.[150] As this sale included a Most-Favoured-Customer Clause, the European airframer must refund any price difference to American if it sells to another airline at a lower price. As a result, Airbus was unable to offer the A320neo at a price which United Airlines deemed "competitive", leaving it with a Boeing-skewed fleet.[151]

On 27 July 2011, Lufthansa ordered 25 A320neos and 5 A321neos.[152] The November Dubai Airshow saw a further 130 orders, raising the total to 1,420 orders and commitments, making it the fastest selling aircraft ever.[153]

2012[edit]

On 25 January, Norwegian and Airbus confirmed an order of 100 A320neos.[154] In November, Virgin America deferred the deliveries of the A320neo aircraft until 2020, making ILFC the new launch customer along with the A321neo.[155] In December 2012 Pegasus Airlines, the second largest airline in Turkey, signed a deal for up to 100 A320neo family aircraft, of which 75 (57 A320neo and 18 A321neo models) are firm orders.[156]

2013[edit]

Lufthansa ordered an additional 70 A320neo and A321neo aircraft on 14 March 2013.[157] easyJet, who already operates 195 A320ceo family aircraft, intends to acquire 100 Airbus A320neo for delivery between 2017 and 2022. As part of the deal, easyJet have options on a further 100 A320neo aircraft, and the Japanese carrier ANA is to order the A320neo and A321neo.[158] Lion Air ordered 183. On 15 March 2013, Turkish Airlines ordered 82 A320s with 35 options including four A320neo and 53 A321neo.[159]

2014[edit]

On 15 October 2014 IndiGo signed a MoU with Airbus for purchasing 250 A320neo family aircraft. The deal would be worth over $25.5 billion as per the list price per aircraft. This order will also be the largest by the airline, marking the largest number of jets ever sold by the European planemaker in a single order. The airline had earlier ordered 100 aircraft in 2005 and another 180 aircraft in 2011.[160]

2017[edit]

On 15 November 2017 Airbus announced the signing of a MoU with Indigo Partners' four portfolio airlines for 430 A320neo family aircraft - a deal worth nearly $50 billion.[161] On 14 December 2017 Delta Air Lines announced an order for 100 A321neo aircraft and 100 options, powered by Pratt & Whitney PW1100Gs.[162]

2019[edit]

On 29 October 2019, IndiGo placed a firm order for 300 A320neo Family aircraft, marking one of Airbus' largest aircraft orders ever with a single airline operator. The order comprised a mix of A320neo, A321neo and A321XLR aircraft. This takes IndiGo's total number of A320neo Family aircraft orders to 730.[163]

On 18 November 2019, the low cost carrier Air Arabia ordered 120 A320neo family jets worth $14 billion at list prices: 70 A320neos and 50 A321neos/XLRs, to be delivered from 2024.[164]

Operating history[edit]

As of June 2021, 1,838 A320neo family aircraft were in service with more than 30 operators, with IndiGo operating the largest A320neo fleet of 163, followed by China Southern Airlines with 86, Frontier Airlines with 68, easyJet with 51 and Go First with 48 airplanes.[3]

It could require six to eight months to be converted for military missions like VIP transport, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance and maritime patrol for armed forces of France, Germany and the Netherlands; or Asia-Pacific nations such as Indonesia, Malaysia, New Zealand, and the Philippines.[165]

The six month head-start of the A320neo allowed Airbus to rack up 1,000 orders before Boeing announced the MAX. By September 2018, Airbus should deliver 3,174 A320neos compared with 2,999 Boeing 737 MAX through 2022. A320neo-family maintenance should rise from $650 million in 2018 to $3.3 billion in 2022.[166]

Accidents and incidents[edit]

The A320neo family has zero fatalities and no hull-loss accidents.[167][168]

Specifications[edit]

Airbus family figures[169]
Variant A319neo A320neo A321neo
Cockpit crew 2
2-class seats 140 165 206: 16J @36 in + 190Y @30 in[87]
1-class maximum 160 195[170] @ 27 in[171] 244[172][173]
Seat width Economy at 6 abreast: 18 in (46 cm),[18] 3.7 m (12 ft 2 in) cabin width
Cargo capacity 27 m3 (950 cu ft) 37 m3 (1,300 cu ft) 51 m3 (1,800 cu ft)[a]
Length 33.84 m (111.0 ft) 37.57 m (123 ft 3 in) 44.51 m (146.0 ft)
Wingspan 35.80 m (117 ft 5 in)
Height 11.76 m (38 ft 7 in)
Max. takeoff weight 75.5 t (166,400 lb) 79 t (174,200 lb) 97 t (213,800 lb)[b][c]
Max. payload 17.7 t (39,000 lb)[176]: page 3-2-1 20 t (44,100 lb)[177]: page 3-2-1 25.5 t (56,200 lb)[178]: page 3-2-1
Operating empty 42.6 t (93,900 lb) 44.3 t (97,700 lb) 50.1 t (110,500 lb)
Minimum Weight[d][170] 40.3–40.6 t (89,000–90,000 lb) 46.3–46.6 t (102,000–103,000 lb)
Fuel capacity 29,659 L (7,835 USg)[e] 32,940 L (8,700 USg)[f]
Engines (×2) CFM International LEAP-1A or Pratt & Whitney PW1100G[181]
Fan diameter PW1100G: 81 in (206 cm),[182] LEAP-1A: 78 in (198 cm)[183]
Max. Thrust[170] 107 kN (24,100 lbf)[184][185] 120.6 kN (27,120 lbf) 147.3 kN (33,110 lbf)
Speed Cruise: Mach 0.78 (450 kn; 833 km/h),[181] Max.: Mach 0.82 (473 kn; 876 km/h)[23]
Ceiling 39,100–39,800 ft (11,900–12,100 m)[170]
Typical range 6,950 km / 3,750 nmi[g] 6,500 km / 3,500 nmi[h] 7,400 km / 4,000 nmi [i][b][c]
Takeoff 1,951 m (6,400 ft) [188] 1,988 m (6,522 ft)[23]
ICAO Type[189] A19N A20N A21N

Notes

  1. ^ no Additional Centre Tank (ACT)[174]
  2. ^ a b A321LR with 3 ACT,[174] A321neo: 93.5 t (206,000 lb) and 3,650 nmi (6,760 km; 4,200 mi) range with 2 ACT[175]
  3. ^ a b A321XLR: 101 t (223,000 lb) MTOW, 4,700 nmi (8,700 km) range[108]
  4. ^ GTF/LEAP
  5. ^ with 2 Additional Centre Tanks, no ACT: 23,859 L (6,303 USg)[179]
  6. ^ A321LR with 3 Additional Centre Tanks, no ACT: 23,700 L (6,261 Us gal),[180] A321XLR: additional 12,900 l (3,400 US gal) Rear Centre Tank (RCT) + optional 3,121 l (824 US gal) forward ACT[109]
  7. ^ with 140 passengers, with 124 : 7,750km / 4,200nmi[186]
  8. ^ with 165 passengers, with 150 : 6,850km / 3,700nmi[187]
  9. ^ with 206 passengers

Engines[edit]

Type certificate[170]
Designation Engines Certification Take-off thrust Maximum continuous
A319-171N PW1124G1-JM 19 Aug 2019 10782 daN (24240 lb) 10691 daN (24035 lb)
A319-151N CFM LEAP-1A24 19 Aug 2019 10680 daN (24010 lb) 10676 daN (24000 lb)
A319-153N CFM LEAP-1A26 19 Aug 2019 12064 daN (27120 lb) 11868 daN (26680 lb)
A320-271N PW1127G-JM 24 Nov 2015 12043 daN (27075 lb) 11718 daN (26345 lb)
A320-272N PW1124G1-JM 19 Aug 2019 10782 daN (24240 lb) 10691 daN (24035 lb)
A320-273N PW1129G-JM 19 Aug 2019 13000 daN (29245 lb) 11719 daN (26345 lb)
A320-251N CFM LEAP-1A26 31 May 2016 12064 daN (27120 lb) 11868 daN (26680 lb)
A320-252N CFM LEAP-1A24 17 Jan 2018 10680 daN (24010 lb) 10676 daN (24000 lb)
A320-253N CFM LEAP-1A29 19 Aug 2019 13029 daN (29290 lb) 11868 daN (26680 lb)
A321-271N PW1133G-JM 15 Dec 2016 14728 daN (33110 lb) 14581 daN (32780 lb)
A321-272N PW1130G-JM 27 Jun 2017 14728 daN (33110 lb) 14581 daN (32780 lb)
A321-251N CFM LEAP-1A32 10 Jul 2018 14305 daN (32160 lb) 14096 daN (31690 lb)
A321-252N CFM LEAP-1A30 17 Jan 2018 14305 daN (32160 lb) 14096 daN (31690 lb)
A321-253N CFM LEAP-1A33 10 Jul 2017 14305 daN (32160 lb) 14096 daN (31690 lb)

Note: 100 daN = 1 kN

See also[edit]

Related development

Aircraft of comparable role, configuration, and era

Related lists

References[edit]

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External links[edit]