2016: Airbus aircraft families in review
2016 marks the entry into service of the A320neo family. With the delivery of the first A320neo to the Lufthansa Group, the world’s best-selling and most fuel efficient single aisle aircraft started operations.
The A320neo burns 15% less fuel than current generation aircraft from day one and 20% less by 2020. As at December this year, there are over 43 A320neo aircraft flying with 14 operators around the world.
Following the P&W powered A321neo's historic first flight in Hamburg, Germany on February 9th, and the successful completion of its comprehensive programme of certification tests, the aircraft received the joint Type Certification from EASA & FAA in December.
The CFM powered A321neo first flew in February and we are looking forward to the certification of that aircraft in the coming months.
The A321neo is the largest member of the A320neo Family and can accommodate up to 240 seats, as well as the latest generation engines, Sharklet wing tip devices. The A321 door configuration will change to allow all operators to enjoy improved cabin efficiency.
The A321LR will reach a distance of up to 4,000nm enabling operators around the world access to new markets in the most effective way.
From Tibet's first wide-body aircraft to Turkish Airlines' 300th delivered aircraft, the A330 has continued to score big with airlines and lessors in 2016. Which is why this February, Airbus announced a production rate increase for its A330 Family, responding to new commercial successes that underscore this versatile wide-body product line’s popularity with customers around the globe. Taking effect in January 2017, the change will raise production from its current level – six aircraft per month – to a monthly rate of seven.
Here in the Middle East, the A330's success story continues as current A330 operators like Saudi Arabian Airlines received their first batch of A330 Regionals - specially optimized for regional and domestic operations, the A330-300 Regional will boost capacity on several of Saudi Arabian Airlines’ most in-demand routes, enabling the airline to generate additional efficiencies while offering its passengers an unprecedented comfort level.
In addition, the region's new A330 operator, Pakistan International Airlines introduced this aircraft to its fleet for the first time this year. Initially operating to London, the A330 has already proven a success with this long-time Airbus customer.
Airbus has commenced the final assembly of its first A330neo, an A330-900, at its Final Assembly Line in Toulouse with the joining of the wings to the centre fuselage at station 40.
As the newest member of the world’s most popular A330 wide-body family the A330neo builds on the Family’s proven economics, versatility and reliability, set to reduce fuel consumption by a further 14 per cent per seat. Both the A330-800 and A330-900 feature a new A350-inspired wing with Sharklet wingtip devices for state-of-the-art aerodynamics, incorporating latest-generation Rolls-Royce Trent 7000 engines, and the new AirSpace by Airbus cabin for the latest experience in cabin comfort.
Thanks to its low, new generation fuel-burn, the A330neo expands its operators’ market opportunities by offering an additional 400 nautical miles range, leading to a 6,550 nautical miles range on the A330-900 and 7,500 nautical miles on the A330-800.
Airbus this year celebrated the delivery of its 10,000th aircraft - an A350-900 for Singapore Airlines.
The 10,000th Airbus delivery comes as Airbus achieves its highest level of production ever and is on track to deliver over 600 aircraft this year from its extensive product line. These range from 100 to over 600 seats and efficiently meet every airline requirement, from high frequency short haul operations to the world’s longest intercontinental flights.
The maiden flight of Airbus’ A350-1000 – the latest member of the all-new A350 XWB widebody family that is shaping the future of long-haul airline operations – has initiated a fast-paced test and certification programme leading to the jetliner’s service entry next year.
During its first flight, this longest-fuselage version of the A350 XWB demonstrated the performance and efficiency that will be appreciated by airline and aircraft leasing customers worldwide – 11 of which already have ordered 195 A350-1000s from the Middle East, North America, Asia, Europe, Latin America and the Caribbean.
The A350-1000 builds on the success of Airbus’ shorter-fuselage A350-900 that entered service in January 2015 and is operated today by nine airlines, which are flying over 50 of these jetliners on routes around the globe.
Deliveries of the A350-1000 are planned to begin in the second half of 2017 with launch customer Qatar Airways (which has ordered 37 aircraft). Other carriers that have booked A350-1000s are United Airlines (with 35 on order), Cathay Pacific (26), Etihad (22) British Airways (18), LATAM (14), Japan Airlines (13), Asiana Airlines (10), Air Lease Corporation (9), Virgin Atlantic (8), and Air Caraïbes (3).
In a worldwide airline market that is highly focused on high yielding traffic between today’s busiest cities and doubles in size every 15 years, the A380 can win airlines greater market share with the best cabin in the sky.
This flagship Airbus jetliner is proven to attract high-revenue travellers day after day, stimulating demand and offering the best capacity to match demand at peak hours, along with providing comfort aloft unrivalled by any other jetliner. It has the widest and most spacious seating in all classes of service, something that passengers opt for when they have the choice.
Which is why this year, we launched the iflyA380.com initiative! The booking assistant website will appeal to travellers as it is the only place where all 13 A380 operators can present the on-board services they offer and the destinations they serve. Inspirational information about each city will also help travellers choose their next vacation. It’s simple: users select their departure and destination airports/cities, dates and class of travel, the number of travellers and hit ‘search’. They can then click on the desired flight and be taken seamlessly to the website of the selected airline, allowing users to book securely and with confidence at no extra cost. A380 operators are supportive in the development of this booking assistant.
So if you are among the many travellers who love the A380 flying experience, Middle East is the region to experience it. Today, the A380 is operated by three airlines in the Middle East. Together Emirates, Etihad and Qatar Airways currently operate over 101 A380 aircraft - and this number will continue to grow, linking all regions of the world via Middle East.
* Epinion: Independent agency surveying passengers arriving on A380 flights at London Heathrow.