Update, December 1, 0530 PST:
Aviation Week has an interesting piece on what will Boeing do.
Here is the Airbus press release:
Airbus has decided to offer for its best-selling A320 Family new fuel saving engines as an option. Airlines have the choice between CFM International’s LEAP-X engine and Pratt & Whitney’s PurePower PW1100G engine. Known as the A320neo, this new engine option also incorporates fuel-saving large wing tip devices called Sharklets. Airbus will start deliveries of the A320neo Family in spring 2016.
The A320neo will not only deliver significant fuel savings of up to 15 percent, which represents up to 3,600 tonnes of CO2 savings annually per A320neo. In addition, A320neo customers will benefit from a double-digit reduction in NOx emissions, reduced engine noise, lower operating costs and up to 500nm (950 km) more range or two tonnes more payload.
As new engine technologies become available in the middle of this decade, Airbus is committed to providing its customers with the latest and most eco-efficient technologies to continuously improve aircraft performance and airline operations while reducing the environmental impact. Airbus sees a market potential of 4,000 A320neo Family aircraft over the next 15 years.
“We are confident that the A320neo will be a great success across all markets and with all types of operators, offering them maximum benefit with minimum change. We are leveraging a reliable, mature aircraft and are making it even more efficient and environmentally friendly,” said Tom Enders, Airbus President and CEO.
Over the past months, Airbus has taken the time to carefully assess and weigh up the benefits of the A320neo business case with the allocation of the highly skilled engineering resources needed while at the same time securing the engineering skills required on other Airbus aircraft programmes.
“Finding the necessary resources for the A320neo wasn’t exactly a walk in the park,” Enders added. “The enabler was to devise a stringent phasing of critical engineering assets throughout our various development programmes and to optimise the management and organisation of all our programmes and R&T projects. Our international engineering centres, suppliers and partners play a big role in this.”
Today’s A320neo announcement follows the approval given by the Board of Directors of EADS, Airbus’ shareholder company.
The new engine option is offered on the A321, A320 and A319 models which will require limited modifications, primarily to the wing and pylon areas. The A320neo will have over 95 percent airframe commonality with the standard A320 Family. The unique Airbus operational commonality enables operators of several Airbus Family types to continue to benefit from lower pilot and maintenance training costs.
Airbus launched its new “Sharklet” large wingtip devices, specially designed to enhance the eco-efficiency and payload-range performance of the A320 Family. Offered as a forward-fit option, Sharklets are expected to result in at least 3.5 percent lower fuel burn over longer sectors. The A320 will be the first model fitted with Sharklets, which will be delivered around the end of 2012, to be followed by the other A320 Family models from 2013.
The A320 Family is recognized as the benchmark single-aisle aircraft family. With over 6,700 aircraft sold, and more than 4,400 aircraft delivered to some 310 customers and operators worldwide, it is the world’s best-selling single-aisle aircraft family. With 99.7 per cent reliability and extended servicing periods, the A320 Family has the lowest operating costs of any single aisle aircraft.