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Planely better

In a not so far future airplanes might be electric, mainly because there is a large concern about the air industry’s toll on the climate. The electric dream is not ready to happen in some years though, at least not for commercial flights. None the less Airbus several years ago started to answer the call for better fuel efficiency and the end result: the neos.

Already commercially marketed, the A320neo family offers up to a fifth savings in fuel burn per seat. Together with additional payload, more range, lower costs and almost a reduction by half in engine noise it also has NOx emissions as low as half of the current industry standard. Being such a success, Airbus also implemented the neo strategy to the larger A330 aircraft family, after the start with the A320s.

The lean trick

Being smart production wise, Airbus found a way to revamp the older production lines. Simply put, magic happened after just smaller changes in the airframe, some slight upgrading of production and also by mounting newer engines to the A320. Today there is a 95 % airframe commonality between the older ceo aircrafts (current engine option) and the neos (new engine option). Which of course means less production development time and less waste.

The first flight of the A320 neo happened in September 2014. Lufthansa was the launch commercial operator just 16 months later. After just a year in regular service, Lufthansa has confirmed the 20 per cent efficiency gain, along with remarkable reduced CO₂ emissions. This year the newer A330neo is also in commercial flight, launched with Portuguese TAP.

New cabins

Basically, there are two different engine types for the neos, depending on what the operator chooses. Either the Pratt & Whitney’s PurePower PW1100G-JM geared turbofan or the CFM International’s LEAP-1A

Another smart device is the 2.4-metre-tall swept up wingtip – the “Sharklets”, developed for the A320ceo. These are standard on neo aircrafts and give by themselves up to four per cent reduced fuel burn over longer flights.

The neos are also refitted cabin wise and offer a more modern and comfortable feel. For example is a new air purifier removing unpleasant smells from the air before it is pumped back into the. The planes also offer larger luggage storage. The ”Smart-Lav” modular lavatory design allows better accessibility, as two lavatories can be turned into one, even while in-flight.
The A320neo family consist of four aircrafts – A318, A319, A320 and A321. It is the industry’s longest-range single-aisle aircraft and seats between 100 and 240 passengers.

Today (as of summer of 2018) Airbus has firm orders for more than 6.000 neos. A total of 181 A320neo family aircraft were delivered in 2017, up from 68 during 2016. By mid-2019, Airbus expects to be delivering 60 A320neo jets every month.

Sale figures that confirmed that it really is smart to do things lean, clean and green.

Links:

On Airbus history: https://50skyshades.com/news/manufacturer/airbus-jetliners-a-standard-setting-history

Airbus own presentation of the A320neo: http://www.airbus.com/aircraft/passenger-aircraft/a320-family/a320neo.html