The first Airbus A320neo took its maiden voyage on Sept. 25 when it took off from Toulouse-Blagnac Airport in France at noon local time. According the the plane maker, the aircraft’s test flight lasted a little more than two hours when it returned to the airport in Toulouse after venturing across the skies of southern France.
“I congratulate the whole A320neo development team, ground crew and air crew for making this day happen,” Airbus president and CEO, Fabrice Bregier, said in a statement. “The A320neo which has taken to the air today builds on the outstanding success of the A320 family. The aircraft through its incremental innovations combines the most efficient engine and aerodynamic technologies, as well as new cabin features to bring to market a product which will consume 20 percent less fuel per passenger.”
The goal of the test flight was to test the plane’s flight envelope and systems operation. While this was being done in the air there were experts on the ground who were able to monitor the progress using a direct telemetry link, Airbus said in its statement announcing the first flight.
According to Airbus, there will be approximately 3,000 hours of flight testing to ensure the plane’s engines and systems are working correctly. Once the flight test campaign is complete the aircraft will be delivered to Qatar Airways.
There are three planes that make up the A320neo family including the A319neo, A320neo and A321neo, seating up to 160, 189 and 240 passengers, respectively. It’s the best-selling single-aisle aircraft family in the world. There are more than 3,200 orders from carriers across the globe.
Airbus hopes the plane will be able to enter commercial service by the fourth quarter of 2015. Due to its lower consumption in fuel, airlines as well as passengers on vacation and business travel may see a decrease in the cost to fly on the innovative aircraft.