Airbus has delivered the first-ever A321neo.
The latest generation aircraft powered by CFM International’s LEAP-1A engines was handed over to Virgin America, an all-Airbus operator, at a ceremony in Hamburg, Germany.
“After Virgin America having been the first customer signing for the A320neo back in December 2010, we are today delighted to deliver the first A321neo to them,” said Fabrice Brégier, Airbus president, commercial aircraft.
“With our largest, latest, most fuel efficient NEO Single Aisle aircraft we are turning a new page.
“The new A321neo powered by next generation CFM LEAP-1A engines guarantees new levels of efficiency and longer range to its operators, greater comfort to the flying public and less emissions and noise to the airport communities.
“Thanks to its cutting edge technologies it is today the most eco-sensitive Single Aisle aircraft available.”
The A320neo significantly reduces noise levels, generating only half the noise footprint compared to previous generation aircraft.
Equipped with fuel-saving Sharklet wingtip devices nitrous oxide emissions are 50 per cent below regulatory requirements as outlined by the Committee on Aviation Environmental Protection.
In addition, the aircraft with LEAP-1A engines is proven to deliver at least a 15 per cent fuel savings compared to Virgin America’s current generation aircraft, which is equivalent to cutting 5,000 tons of carbon dioxide emissions with each plane every year.
The A321neo is the largest member of the A320neo Family.
It covers the entire market, from high density to long-range thin routes.
There are currently over 1,300 units on order.
“We are honoured to be the first operator of this high in-demand aircraft,” said Virgin America president Peter Hunt.
“The new A321neo – the third member of the Airbus A320 Family to join our Virgin America fleet – will allow us to further reduce our unit costs and enable us to further reduce our carbon emissions.”
Virgin America currently operates a fleet of 63 Airbus A320 family aircraft comprised of A319ceo and A320ceo aircraft powered by CFM’s CFM56-5B engines.