China Southern Airlines takes delivery of world’s first passenger A319neo

Smaller version of the Neo family had only been delivered to VIP customers. Carrier also confirmed that it will retire its five A380s by the end of 2022

Almost five years after its maiden flight, the Airbus A319neo has finally been delivered to an airline. China Southern Airlines took delivery of the first two examples of the smallest A320neo family aircraft in passenger configuration.

Until then, the manufacturer had only delivered four units of the jet, but in the ACJ319neo executive version.

On Twitter, the Chinese carrier confirmed that its A319neo will have a “comfortable” three-class cabin, with four seats in Business class, 24 in Premium Economy and 108 in Economy. China Southern has scheduled the commercial debut of the new planes in July.

Unlike the A320neo and A321neo models, which respectively have 3,752 and 4,037 orders, the A319neo has only 70 orders. The aircraft’s main customer is the low cost airline Spirit Airlines, from the US, with 31 aircraft on order, and which recently joined Frontier Airlines.

The A319neo has only 70 firm orders (Airbus)

The Airbus backlog also includes nine jets for executive operators and another 30 units for undisclosed customers, among them certainly China Southern, which is not officially on the list.

Although it offers respectable performance, with a range of 6,950 km and a capacity for 160 passengers, the A319neo is an aircraft overshadowed by another Airbus, the A220-300 (ex-Bombardier CS300).

The two jets offer similar capabilities, but the A220 is more versatile and has a much lower operating cost. Not by chance, the A220’s backlog is almost 10 times larger (102 A220-100 and 588 A220-300 models) than the A319neo.

China Southern Airlines A380 (Edwin Leong)

China Southern Airlines bids farewell to the A380

As a new Airbus aircraft is introduced to the China Southern Airlines fleet, another model is farewell. China’s largest carrier confirmed on Wednesday that its fleet of four-engine A380 jets will be withdrawn from service by the end of this year. The company has five examples of the “Superjumbo”.

The world’s largest passenger plane, which was discontinued in 2021, has already stopped flying with Air France, Lufthansa and the wet-lease company Hy-Fly. Other aircraft customers such as Korean Air, Malaysia Airlines, Thai Airways, Asiana Airlines and Qatar Airways have also announced that they will retire their jets or part of their fleets by the second half of this decade.

Among the new functions of the A380 are serving as a test laboratory for hydrogen engines and perhaps becoming a hotel, located next to the Airbus factory in Toulouse, France.

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