Airbus delivered the first A321neo to Virgin America. The company received the jet in Hamburg, Germany, in the version equipped with CFM International engines – the aircraft is also offered with Pratt & Whitney engines.
The A321neo is the largest jet of the new A320neo family. The model chosen by Virgin has the cabin equipped with 185 seats, divided into three classes. According to Airbus, the new generation of the A321 can receive up to 240 passengers in the configuration with only one class.
The airline will begin commercial flights with the A321neo beginning May 31 on the route between San Francisco and Washington. In all, the company has ordered nine units of the new Airbus aircraft, as well as another 30 A320neo units – which will be delivered to Alaska Airlines, the current owner of Virgin America, from 2020.
New generation of A320
The main draw of the new “Neo” (New Option Engine) series of the A320 family is the low fuel consumption, which can be up to 20% lower than the same generation models of the previous generation. In addition to state-of-the-art engines, another feature that contributes to increased efficiency is the “Sharklets” at the wing tips, devices that reduce the aerodynamic drag of the aircraft.
Airbus is also already testing the A319neo, which will be the smallest model in the new series, as there are no plans yet for a new A318. The revamped version of the A319, with seating for up to 160 passengers, is scheduled to hit the market by 2020.