Airbus’ newest single-aisle airliner completed its first flight on Tuesday.
Its first A321neo completed a five-hour, 29-minute flight from Hamburg, Germany, powered by CFM International Leap 1A engines. Those are the same engines that will power competitor Boeing’s new 737 Max single-aisle airliner.
The “neo” designation – which stands for “new engine option” – represents the European planemaker’s next generation of single-aisle airliners it calls the A320neo Family and comprises three models: A319neo, A320neo and A321neo.
The A321 is the largest of Airbus’ single-aisle family, capable of transporting 240 passengers.
Airbus plans to deliver its first A321neo at the end of the year. The airplane lists for $124.4 million, based on the manufacturer’s 2015 prices.
The A321neo is the second of the A320 Family with the new engine option to complete first flight. The A320neo made its maiden flight in September 2014 and has accumulated 1,900 flight hours in more than 640 flights.
In addition to the new engines, the A320neo Family refresh includes Sharklet wing tips and an improved cabin. Airbus claims the neos will deliver up to 20 percent improvement in fuel savings, Airbus said.
Of Airbus’ 635 aircraft deliveries in 2015, 491 were for A320 Family jetliners. The company’s backlog of 6,787 airliners includes 5,535 single-aisle airplanes.
The airplane’s connection to Wichita includes Spirit AeroSystems, which manufactures parts of the A320 Family’s wings. And Airbus Americas Engineering in Old Town designs and analyzes the primary structure – wings and fuselages – of Airbus jets, including A320 Family aircraft.