MAIDEN FLIGHT OF AIRBUS A-319NEO
In April this year, Airbus completed the maiden flight of the first A-319neo, the smallest member of what the manufacturer claims is the world’s best-selling singleaisle product line, the A-320neo Family. Powered by CFM International LEAP-1A engines, the aircraft flown by test pilots Michel Gagneux and Eckard Hausser, took off from Hamburg and landed in Toulouse after a five-hour flight. The flight was to assess the general handling of the aircraft and to check the main systems. The aircraft will be based in Toulouse while it completes the test programme. Airbus says the A-320neo Family has received more than 5,000 orders from 90-plus customers, capturing an almost 60 per cent share of the market. The fleet incorporates latest technologies including new generation engines and Sharklet wing tip devices. Together, these are said to deliver more than 15 per cent in fuel savings from day one and 20 per cent by 2020, while wide cabins offer improved comfort in all classes, including 18-inch wide seats in Economy as standard. Airbus says with one aircraft in three sizes, A-319neo, A-320neo and A321neo, the product line, seating 100 to 240 passengers, seamlessly covers the entire single-aisle segment from low to high-density domestic to long range routes.