Airbus has delivered the first-ever A321neo.
The aircraft, powered by CFM International’s
LEAP-1A engines, was handed over to U.S. airline Virgin America at
a ceremony in Hamburg, Germany.
“After Virgin America having been the first
customer signing for the A320neo back in December 2010, we are delighted to deliver the first A321neo to them,” said Fabrice Brégier, Airbus Chief Operating Officer and 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
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% below
regulatory requirements as outlined by the Committee on Aviation
Environmental Protection (CAEP). In addition, the aircraft with
LEAP-1A engines is proven to deliver at least a 15% 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.
“We have been
with Virgin America from the beginning and we are excited to
launch this new chapter in that relationship,” said Gael Meheust,
President and CEO of CFM International. “The LEAP-1A has done
extremely well in its first months of commercial service. It is
proving unprecedented levels of fuel efficiency and environmental
responsibility while maintaining the level of reliability Virgin
America has come to expect from CFM. We think they will be very
pleased with all this engine has to offer.”
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.
honored to be the first operator of this high in-demand aircraft,”
said Virgin America President Peter Hunt, speaking at the ceremony
attended by Virgin America teammates, Executives from Airbus, CFM
and the aircraft lessor GECAS. “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.”
A321neo will become the largest aircraft in Virgin America’s
fleet, featuring 185 seats - a 24% higher capacity at same
comfort levels than its current A320s.
Inside the cabin, Virgin
America flyers will continue to enjoy three custom-designed classes of service, touch-screen personal entertainment and an
on-demand food and cocktail menu on every flight in addition to power outlets at every seat.
The aircraft is expected to enter
service on 31 May 2017 with its inaugural flight from San
Francisco International Airport (SFO) to Ronald Reagan Washington
National Airport (DCA).
Virgin America was acquired by Alaska Air Group in December