FIRST A-321NEO HANDED OVER
In the second week of April this year, the first-ever A-321neo, the latest generation powered by CFM International’s LEAP1A engines, was handed over to Virgin America, an all-Airbus operator, at a ceremony in Hamburg. Virgin America President Peter Hunt said the airline was honoured to be the first operator of the high in-demand aircraft. “This third member of the Airbus A-320 Family to join our fleet will allow us to reduce our unit costs and carbon emissions further,” he added. Airbus President Commercial Aircraft Fabrice Brégier said the company was “turning a new page” with its largest, latest, most fuel efficient NEO single-aisle aircraft, guaranteeing new levels of efficiency and longer range to its operators. It also offered greater comfort to the flying public and lower emissions and less noise to airport communities thanks to cuttingedge technologies making it the most ecosensitive single-aisle aircraft available. The aircraft with LEAP-1A engines was proven to deliver at least 15 per cent fuel savings compared to Virgin America’s current generation aircraft, equivalent to cutting 5,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions with each plane every year, Brégier added. Virgin America operates a fleet of 63 Airbus A-320 family aircraft comprised of A-319ceo and A-320ceo aircraft powered by CFM’s CFM56-5B engines.