TOULOUSE, France, 29 Jan. 2012. Commercial jetliner manufacturer Airbus in Toulouse, France, had big announcements last week, closing deals with three separate airlines for 153 aircraft. Airbus sold 51 airplanes -- 33 eco-efficient A320neo and 18 A320 aircraft -- to AviancaTaca Holding Co. in Bogota, Colombia; two A330-200 freighters to Etihad Airways in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates; and 100 A320neo aircraft to Norwegian Air Shuttle ASA in Bærum, Norway. No dollar value of the sales was released.
The sale of 100 eco-friendly A320neo aircraft to Norwegian came last Wednesday -- the same day that Norwegian placed an $11.4 billion order for 100 fuel-efficient 737 MAX single-aisle passenger jets from Boeing Commercial Airplanes in Seattle. Airbus and Boeing are competing their A320neo -- which stands for new engine option -- and 737 MAX aircraft head-to-head for the future environmentally friendly narrow-body passenger aircraft market.
Norwegian (the brand name of Norwegian Air Shuttle AS) will use the Airbus A320neo and Boeing 737 MAX aircraft for the airline's growth and modernization. Norwegian operates a network across Europe into North Africa and the Middle East, and is rapidly expanding its low cost operations. The new aircraft will feature a single class cabin layout, seating approximately 180 passengers. Norwegian’s engine decision will be announced at a later date.
The order supports Norwegian's plans to build on the success provided by its fleet of Next-Generation 737-800s for its rapidly expanding operations. Norwegian, a low-cost European air carrier, operates a network across Europe into North Africa and the Middle East. Norwegian's A320neo aircraft will feature a single-class cabin layout, seating approximately 180 passengers, and the aircraft will announce its engine decision later.
On Thursday AviancaTaca, which includes subsidiary AeroGal of Ecuador, signed a purchase agreement for 33 Airbus A320neo and 18 A320 family aircraft. The purchase order follows a memorandum of understanding signed during the Paris Air Show last June. The new aircraft will support AviancaTaca’s expansion into new markets in Latin America, while keeping the airline’s fleet among the youngest in the region, Airbus officials say.
Also on Thursday, Etihad Airways ordered two Airbus A330-200 freighter aircraft to support Etihad's growth plans in the cargo market. The airline was a launch customer for the A330-200F, having taken delivery of its first aircraft at the Farnborough International Airshow in 2010. Today’s order will increase the fleet of the airline’s cargo business, Etihad Crystal Cargo, to four A330-200F freighters, Airbus officials say.
The Airbus A330 family, which spans 200-to-400-seat passenger variants, also includes freighter, VIP, and multi role tanker transport (MRTT) variants.
The twin-engine Airbus A320neo family, meanwhile, is scheduled to enter service in 2016, and consists of the latest-model A320, A321, and A319. All A320neo aircraft will have sharklet wing tips and offer a choice of the CFM International LEAP-X or the Pratt & Whitney PW1100G PurePower engines. These environmentally friendly engines provide the aircraft family with some of the best fuel efficiency in its class, Airbus officials say.
The aerodynamic and engine improvements in the A320neo give the aircraft family a 15 per cent reduction in fuel consumption compared with earlier versions, as well as two tonnes of additional payload, as much as 500 nautical miles of more range, lower operating costs, and reductions in engine noise and emissions, company officials say.
Sharklets on the aircraft wingtips can add more than 3.5 percent savings in overall fuel consumption on long routes, while also improving takeoff performance and increasing payload by 1,100 pounds for additional range or more passengers.
The A320neo can seat as many as 150 passengers in a two-class arrangement, and as many as 180 passengers with high-density seating. The stretched-fuselage A321neo can seat as many as 185 passengers in a two-class layout, or as many as 220 passengers in a high-density cabin. The shorter-fuselage A319neo can seat 124 passengers in two classes or as many as 156 passengers in a high-density cabin setup.
For more information contact Airbus online at www.airbus.com, Boeing Commercial Airplanes at www.boeing.com/commercial, Norwegian Air Shuttle ASA www.norwegian.com, AviancaTaca Holding Co. at www.aviancataca.com, or Etihad Airways at www.etihadairways.com.