My Cart

Close
Welcome to U2 Graphics! We are ready for takeoff.

Airbus A320neo

Posted on September 23 2021

Airbus A320neo user+1@localho… Wed, 06/22/2022 - 21:17

Launched by Airbus in 2010, the A320neo (new engine option) series of airframes is the next generation of the European manufacturer’s narrowbody airframe. As the neo name implies, the primary change made to this second generation of A320-series airliners is the replacement of CFM International’s CFM56 and International Aero Engines’ (IAE) V2500 engines with a pair of more advanced engines. Those engines come in the form of CFM’s LEAP-1A, as well as Pratt & Whitney’s PW1100G-JM geared-turbofan (GTF) engine, both of which provide substantial improvements in comparison to the engines that they replace. Those improvements include reduced emissions, engine noise, fuel burn and operating costs, as well as additional range and payload. Another standard feature of the A320neo series—which was formerly an option on the A320ceo (current engine option) series—is Airbus’s drag-reducing and lift-increasing winglets, devices that are dubbed Sharklets. Despite the differences between the A320ceo and A320neo variants, Airbus promotes the latter as having “95% airframe commonality” with the former. Regardless of any upgrades made to the A320neo series, the common type certificate for all current and new engine option variants of the A320 series is held by Airbus S.A.S. in Blagnac, France.   

Airbus announced the completion of assembly of the first A320neo on July 1, 2014, with the first flight of that airframe—a PW1127G-JM-powered A320-271N registered as F-WNEO—taking place on Sep. 25, 2014, from Toulouse-Blagnac Airport in France, the site of one of the A320 production facilities. Eight months later, on May 19, 2015, a LEAP-1A26-powered A320neo—an A320-251N variant registered as F-WNEW—made its first flight from Toulouse, marking the first flight of a LEAP-1A engine on the A320neo. The Pratt & Whitney and CFM-powered -271N and -251N were certified in that order, with the first example of the former variant delivered to Lufthansa on Jan. 20, 2016. The German carrier placed that variant into service between Frankfurt and Hamburg five days later on Jan. 25, 2016, with those two cities selected because of the presence of Lufthansa maintenance facilities that were able to support the airframe’s new GTF engines. The first LEAP-1A-powered A320neo was delivered roughly five months later, on Jul. 19, 2016, to Turkish operator Pegasus Airlines.

In contrast to the engine sequence of the A320neo, the next A320neo-series airframe to be certified, the A321neo, made its maiden flight under the power of LEAP-1A engines. That event took place on Feb. 9, 2016, from Hamburg-Finkenwerder Airport, while the first flight of a PW1135G-JM-airframe occurred exactly one month later on Mar. 9, 2016. Delivery of the first A321neo—a LEAP-powered variant that was registered as N921VA—took place on April 20, 2017, to Virgin America.

The third variant of the A320neo series, the A319neo, made its first flight—also from Hamburg-Finkenwerder and also powered by a LEAP-1A variant—on Mar. 31, 2017. The LEAP-1A-powered variants of the A319neo, the -151N and -153N, were certified in December 2018 and May 2019, respectively. Following the testing and certification of those variants, the first flight of an A319neo powered by Pratt & Whitney GTF engines—MSN 6464, registered as D-AVWA, the same airframe that performed the LEAP-powered A319neo’s first flight—took place from Toulouse on April 25, 2019, with the A319-171N variant certified in November 2019. In contrast to the first deliveries of the A320neo and A321neo—which went to airline customers—the first deliveries of the A319neo were corporate-configured ACJ319neo airframes.

The first flight of an A321LR—performed by airframe MSN7877, registered as D-AVZO—took place on Jan. 31, 2018, from Hamburg-Finkenwerder, with the A321neo variants marketed as the A321LR receiving European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) certification in March 2018. Following the certification of other modifications that distinguish the A321LR from the standard A321neo, the first A321LR was delivered to launch operator Arkia Israeli Airlines in November 2018.

In addition to the A321LR, Airbus launched the A321XLR on June 17, 2019, at the Paris Air Show. The second upgraded version of the A321neo airframe, the A321XLR is described as being “the next evolutionary step” of the A321neo family, with this variant planned to further extend the range of the airframe. Orders for the A321XLR at the 2019 Paris Air Show came from Air Lease Corp. (ALC), American Airlines, Cebu Pacific, Saudi Arabian low-cost carrier Flynas, Indigo Partners (for Frontier Airlines, JetSMART and Wizz Air), International Airlines Group (IAG) (for Aer Lingus and Iberia), JetBlue Airways, Middle East Airlines, Qantas Group and Saudi Arabian Airlines. The first A321XLR airframe—MSN 11000, registered as F-WXLR and powered by LEAP-1A engines—made its “approximately” 4-hr. 35-min. first flight from Hamburg-Finkenwerder on June 15, 2022. Airbus stated that the first flight evaluated the engines, flight controls and flight-envelope protections—at both “high and low speed”—and main systems. In addition to MSN 11000, three other airframes will be involved in the test program, including a “standard A321neo”—MSN6839—that performed “early test flights” in advance of the A321XLR’s first flight. The other two flight-test airframes will be A321XLR, with MSN11058, which is expected to make its first flight in the third quarter of 2022, being identical to MSN11000—outfitted “with the same heavy flight-test equipment installed in the cabin”—except for its Pratt & Whitney PW1100G-JM engines. Comparatively, the third flight-test airframe—MSN11080—will be powered by CFM engines and feature a “full passenger cabin.” Although the first delivery had been expected to take place in late 2023, a “longer than expected” certification process means that the delivery of the first A321XLR is now expected in “early 2024,” following the completion of a year-long test campaign that will include “1,000 flight hours.”

A319neo Variant

Type Certification Date

A320neo Variant

Type Certification Date

A321neo Variant

Type Certification Date

-151N

Dec. 14, 2018

-251N

May 31, 2016

-251N

Mar. 1, 2017

-252N

Dec. 18, 2017

-252N

Dec. 18, 2017

-153N

May 20, 2019

-253N

Feb. 5, 2019

-253N

March 3, 2017

-271N

Nov. 24, 2015

-271N

Dec. 15, 2016

-171N

Nov. 29, 2019

-272N

Oct. 17, 2018

-272N

May 23, 2017

-273N

Jan. 30, 2019

-251NX

March 22, 2018

-252NX

-253NX

-271NX

-272NX

Cabin Configurations and Dimensions

Despite the fact that the A319neo, A320neo and A321neo have differing cabin lengths—78 ft., 90 ft. 3 in. and 113 ft., respectively—all three airframes share a common maximum cabin width of 12 ft. 1 in., a dimension that is promoted by Airbus as giving the A320 series the “widest single-aisle cabin.” In order to accommodate the maximum passenger capacities noted below, a denser configuration and/or modifications are required, with the A319neo requiring the “optimized use of cabin space and increased exit limits” in order to be configured for the 160-passenger maximum capacity. In a “typical two-class” configuration, Airbus advertises the A319neo as having a capacity between 120 and 150 passengers, while the middle-of-the-range A320neo is noted as being able to seat 150-180 passengers in the same type of configuration. The 195-seat maximum certified capacity of the A320neo—which is also noted as requiring cabin optimization and exit limits increases—is possible when the cabin is configured in a high-density configuration.

Another A320neo-series variant that is marketed as having increased exit limits and optimized cabin space is the A321neo, with that airframe also incorporating “a new cabin door configuration” that is promoted as the “Cabin Flex” option [also known as Airbus Cabin Flex (ACF)]. Changes beyond the new passenger door configuration—which involves the removal of the pair of doors located just forward of the wing and the addition of “new overwing emergency exits in the center section”—include a “new rear section” that has also been introduced with this A321neo option. The first delivery of an A321neo featuring these changes was made to Turkish Airlines in July 2018, with that operator choosing to configure the airframe to accommodate 182 passengers, divided between 20 in business class and 162 in economy class. From “around 2020,” the Cabin Flex configuration will transition from being an option on the A321neo to being the standard configuration.

According to Airbus’ “Aircraft Characteristics Airport and Maintenance Planning” document, beyond the maximum certified capacities, the standard seating capacities of the A321ceo (A321-100 and -200), A321neo and A321XLR include a 185-seat single-class capacity, as well as a 202-seat capacity for A321neo that incorporate the ACF modifications. The same document states that a 244-seat configuration is possible for A321neo that incorporate the ACF modifications in a single-class, high-density, all-economy cabin in which the seats have a 28-in. pitch. Additionally, the typical configuration of a two-class A321neo that has the ACF modifications includes 16 business-class seats that have a 36-in. pitch, as well as 190 economy-class seats that have a pitch of 29 in. or 30 in., for a total accommodation of 206 seats.

Another cabin feature that will be available from 2020 on the A320neo series is the Airspace by Airbus cabin that was launched on the A330neo and which is also included on the A350. The features of the Airspace cabin on the A320neo series include increased passenger comfort, larger overhead bins, light-emitting diode (LED) lighting technology and updated lavatories. The Airspace cabin’s overhead bins, which are marketed as the Airspace XL bins, are promoted for their capacity to accommodate “60% more bags.” Operator and passenger benefits of the larger bins, which are capable of “[a]ccommodating bags up to 24 X 16 X 10 in. on their side,” include faster turnaround times, increased volume and reduced crew workload. Indeed, the volume is increased by 40%, while the Airspace interior’s overhead bins are up to 132 lb. lighter than “smaller pivoting solutions.” Passenger comfort in the Airspace cabin is promoted as being enhanced by “new, ergonomic sidewalls” that give passengers “more personal space and improved visibility,” while the A320 series’ cross section allows for 18-in.-wide seats to be a standard feature in the economy cabin. Finally, according to Airbus, A320neo-series airframes equipped with the Airspace interior will also feature lavatories that “are updated to match” what is found on the A330neo and A350.

As is the case with the A321LR, the cabin of the forthcoming A321XLR will be able to be configurated to include “long-haul, full-flat seats,” while also capable of accommodating 180-220 seats in a typical dual-class configuration that includes economy-class seats that are 18-in. wide. The previously mentioned A321 aircraft characteristics and planning document states that the 206-seat layout of A321neo airframes that feature the ACF modifications is also possible on the A321XLR, with a maximum passenger capacity of 244 possible in a single-class configuration. In keeping with the current A321neo variants, aspects of the Airspace by Airbus cabin—including the aforementioned ceiling and LED lighting, new sidewall panels and lavatory design and overhead bins that have a 40% increase in volume—will be incorporated into the cabin of this variant when it enters service.

Cargo Capacity

Beyond the space in the cabin, all three of A320neo-series airframes have three cargo compartments, with the aft compartment the largest and the rear (bulk) compartment the smallest. On the A319neo, those three cargo compartments have usable volumes of 301 ft.3, 421 ft.3 and 255 ft.3, respectively. Of those compartments, the aft cargo compartment has the highest certified maximum load at 6,660 lb., a figure that is decreased to 5,000 lb. in the forward compartment and 3,300 lb. in the rear (bulk) compartment. In that underfloor cargo space, the A319neo is also able to accommodate four LD3-45W containers or up to four pallets. The larger A320neo and A321neo also have the same three cargo compartments, with the former airplane increasing the respective volumes of the forward and aft compartments to 469 ft.3and 645 ft.3, while the volume of the bulk compartment is decreased to 208 ft.3. Although the maximum certified capacities of the A320neo’s forward and aft compartments are increased in comparison to the A319neo—to 7,500 lb. and 10,000 lb., respectively—the rear (bulk) compartment has a smaller volume than the comparable compartment on the A319neo and retains the same capacity as that variant. The cargo capacity of the A320neo also includes the ability to carry seven LD3-45W containers or pallets. Airbus’ characteristics and planning document, despite the fact that the A321neo has a single set of cargo compartment volumes—806 ft.3 in the forward compartment, 813 ft.3 in the aft compartment and 208 ft.3 in the bulk (rear) compartment—the maximum capacity of the latter compartment varies based upon the A321neo variant. To that end, the maximum load of the forward and aft compartments for all A321neo variants is 12,500 lb., with the rear (bulk) compartment retaining the aforementioned 3,300-lb. capacity of the A319neo and A320neo on the A321-251N, -252N, -253N, -271N and -272N variants. On the A321-251NX, -252NX, -253NX, -271NX and -272NX, the capacity of the rear compartment is reduced by nearly half to 1,764 lb. The number of LD3-45W containers and pallets is increased on the A321neo to 10.

A320neo vs. 737 MAX Seating Comparison

A320ceo Variant

Maximum Certified Passenger Capacity

737 MAX Variant

Maximum Certified Passenger Capacity

A319neo

            160           

737-7

172

A320neo

195

737-8

189

A321neo/A321LR/A321XLR

244

737 MAX 200

210

737-9

220

737-10

230

Mission and Performance

Much like the A320ceo series of airframes, the A320neo series has the range, passenger capacity and economics to perform a variety of missions for airlines and other commercial operators. The primary competition for the series is Boeing’s 737 MAX series, with the specific comparisons noted below.

Comparison: A320neo and 737 MAX Specifications

A319neo

A320neo

A321neo

A321LR

737-7

737-8

737-9

737-10

Maximum Certified Passenger Capacity

160

195

244

172

189

220

230

Maximum Range (nm)

3,700

3,400

4,000

3,850

3,550

3,300

Engine

CFM International LEAP-1A

CFM International LEAP-1B

Pratt & Whitney PW1100G-JM

Maximum Takeoff Weight (MTOW)(lb.)

166,449

174,165

206,132

213,848

177,000

181,200

194,700

197,900

Wingspan

117 ft. 5 in.

117 ft. 10 in.

Length

111 ft.

123 ft. 3 in.

146 ft.

116 ft. 8 in.

129 ft. 8 in.

138 ft. 4 in.

143 ft. 8 in.

Height

38 ft. 7 in.

40 ft. 4 in.

                   

With reference to performance limitations, the A319neo, A320neo and A321neo all share the same maximum operating limit speed (MMO) as the A320ceo series—0.82 Mach—while the maximum operating altitude varies by airframe and whether certain modifications have been made. Without any of those modifications performed, all A319, A320 and A321 variants—both current and new engine option—are limited to a maximum operating altitude of 39,100 ft. However, all three airframes are able to increase that limitation to 39,800 ft. with the incorporation of certain modifications, with the ACJ319neo and A320neo able to increase it another 2,000 ft. to 41,000 ft. For the A319, the 39,800 ft. (pressure altitude) maximum operating altitude limit is possible with the incorporation of modification 30748, while A319-153N variants configured as ACJ319neo airframes can increase that limitation to 41,000 ft. when the changes included in modification 163216 are performed. According to the EASA type certificate data sheet (TCDS) for the series, a 39,800-ft. limitation is approved on the A320 and A321 once the changes embodied in modification 30748 are performed, with the further increase in maximum operating altitude to 41,000 ft. possible on the A320 with modification 162744.

Variants

Comparison: A320ceo and A320neo Specifications

Commercial Designation

A319ceo

A320ceo

A321ceo

A319neo

A320neo

A321neo

A321LR

A321XLR

Maximum Certified Passenger Capacity

156

180

220

160

195

244

Maximum Range (nm)

3,750

3,350

3,200

3,700

3,400

4,000

4,700

Engine

CFM International CFM56

CFM International LEAP-1A

International Aero Engines (IAE) V2500

Pratt & Whitney PW1100G-JM

Maximum Takeoff Weight (MTOW)(lb.)

168,653

171,961

206,132

166,449

174,165

206,132

213,848

222,667

Wingspan (ft.)

117 ft. 5 in.

Length (ft.)

111 ft.

123 ft. 3 in.

146 ft.

111 ft.

123 ft. 3 in.

146 ft.

Height (ft.)

38 ft. 7 in.

A320neo Series Engine Variants

A319neo Variant

Engine Variant

A320neo Variant

Engine Variant

A321neo Variant

Engine Variant

-151N

CFM LEAP-1A24

-251N

CFM LEAP-1A26

-251N/-251NX

CFM LEAP-1A32

-153N

CFM LEAP-1A26/

-1A26E1

-252N

CFM LEAP-1A24

-252N/-252NX

CFM LEAP-1A30

-171N

PW1124G-JM

-253N

CFM LEAP-1A29

-253N/-253NX

CFM LEAP-1A33

-271N

PW1127G-JM

-271N/-271NX

PW1133G-JM

-272N

PW1124G1-JM

-272N/-272NX

PW1130G-JM

-273N

PW1129G-JM

CFM LEAP-1A Engine

When compared to the “best” CFM56-series engines that equip the A320ceo-series airframes, the LEAP-1A variants that are certified for the A320neo series improve fuel consumption by 15%. The components of the LEAP-1A engine—which is described as being a high-bypass turbofan engine—include an twin annular pre-swirl (TAPS II) combustor, multi-stage compressor and two-stage high-pressure turbine (HPT), with the coaxial front fan/booster driven by a multi-stage low-pressure turbine (LPT) and the engine itself controlled by a full authority digital engine control (FADEC) system. According to CFM International, the TAPS combustor reduces nitrogen oxide (NOX) emissions, in comparison to the Committee of Aviation Environmental Protection’s CAEP/6 standards, by 50%. Promoted as able to generate between 24,500 lb. and 35,000 lb. of thrust at altitude, the takeoff static thrust ratings of LEAP-1A variants certified to power A320neo-series airframes—based on sea-level altitude—range between 24,010 lb. for the LEAP-1A24 (which powers the A319-151N) and 32,160 lb. for the LEAP-1A30, -1A32 and -1A33 (which are certified for the A321-252N and -252NX, A321-251N and -251NX and A321-253N and -253NX, respectively). In addition to being approved for the A320neo series of airframes, LEAP engines also power Boeing’s 737 MAX and the Commercial Aircraft Corp. Of China’s (COMAC) C919.

Pratt & Whitney GTF Engine

The variants of the Pratt & Whitney’s PW1100G-JM that power A320neo-series airframes are described on the FAA’s TCDS as being high-bypass-ratio, axial-flow, dual-spool, turbofan engines that are controlled by a FADEC system. With an 81-in. fan and a bypass ratio of 12:1, other components of the PW1100G-JM variants include a three-stage LPT that drives the engine’s three-stage low-pressure compressor (LPC) and high-bypass-ratio fan “through a fan-drive gear speed reduction system.” Additionally, the engine’s high-pressure compressor (HPC) is driven by a two-stage high-pressure turbine and incorporates eight axial stages. The PW1100G-JM series is marketed as capable of producing between 24,000 lb. and 33,000 lb. of thrust, with the takeoff static thrust—which is also based on sea-level altitude—varying between 24,240 lb. for the PW1124G-JM that is certified to power the A319-171N and 33,110 lb. for the PW1130G-JM (A321-272N and -272NX) and PW1133G-JM (A321-271N and -271NX). According to Pratt & Whitney, the improvements provided by the GTF engines include fuel consumption being reduced by double digits, while reductions in NOX and noise footprint are promoted as being 50% and 75%, respectively. In addition to the A320neo series, the GTF engines also power Airbus’ A220-100 and -300, Embraer’s E-Jets E2—the E175-E2, E190-E2 and E195-E2—Mitsubishi’s SpaceJet airframes.

Fuel Burn and Environmental Improvements

Marketed as providing operators with the maximum benefit with the minimum change from the “baseline” A320-series airframes, the combination of improved engines and Sharklets is promoted as delivering a fuel savings of 15% per seat, a figure that has been confirmed by operators since the A320neo entered service. Indeed, on some longer sectors, “fuel-burn savings rise to 16-17%,” which can further increase to “20% or beyond in specific cases.” By 2020, it is anticipated that the fuel-burn improvement will be 20% per seat, while also allowing for an additional 500 nm of range or two metric tons in payload. The positive environmental impact of these improvements in fuel burn is a 5,000-metric ton reduction in the carbon dioxide (CO2) that is “emitted per aircraft annually.”

In addition to improvements in CO2 emissions, the A320neo series also reduces engine noise by “nearly” 50%, while the NOX emissions are “50% below the current industry standard.” The wingspans noted above include Airbus’s aforementioned Sharklets, which, as was previously described, are standard on all neo airframes. Airbus states that the Sharklets are 7.8-ft.-tall (2.4 m) composite devices which also increase the wingspan by nearly 6 ft. They are promoted as reducing the emission and fuel burn of equipped airplanes by up to 4% “over long sectors,” a reduction that amounts to “around 900 [metric tons]” fewer CO2 emissions per aircraft.

A321LR

In 2015, Airbus launched the first upgraded variant of the A321neo, an airframe that uses the A321LR (long range) commercial designation and which is capable of a range of up to 4,000 nm when carrying 206 passengers and using three Additional Centre Tanks (ACT). The A321LR was designed, in part, to be a replacement for Boeing’s 757 on longer-range routes, such as from the U.S. to Western Europe. Indeed, as part of its flight-test program, the A321LR made a transatlantic flight to New York JFK International Airport on Feb. 13, 2018, just weeks after its first flight. In addition to being promoted as “ideally suited to transatlantic routes,” the range and economics of the airframe are also noted as enabling operators “to tap into new long-haul markets that were not previously accessible with current single-aisle aircraft.” Changes made to the A321LR that allow it to have an extra 300 nm of range include the increased MTOW noted above (97 metric tons) and a third ACT. Serving as the basis for the A321LR is the aforementioned Cabin Flex configuration that allows for the accommodation of up to 244 passengers, with the aforementioned Airspace by Airbus cabin also available.

A321XLR

The further upgraded A321XLR will have a range that is 15% greater than the A321LR—which itself increased the range of the A321neo by 15%—allowing it to operate to 4,700 nm while carrying “around 200 passengers.” The changes made to the airframe include an increase in the MTOW to 101 metric tons (222,667 lb.), strengthened landing gear and changes to the flaps. That increased weight limitation allows the airframe “to be fitted with a permanent Rear Center Tank [RCT]” that is “conformal” and has a capacity of 3,461 gal. According to Airbus, in comparison to the respective 6,205-gal. and 8,703-gal. usable fuel capacities of the A321neo and A321neo ACF, the A321XLR will have an increased usable fuel capacity of 10,500 gal. The benefits of an integrated RCT are that it “will hold additional fuel volume equivalent to four auxiliary fuel tanks, but will only occupy the space of two [auxiliary tanks] and weigh as much as one of the removable tanks.” Beyond its capacity, the benefits of an integrated RCT include the fact that its weight does not “add unnecessary structural weight [to] the aircraft on shorter missions where the additional capabilities are not required,” while the reduction in space occupied is noted as improving cargo and baggage capacity. Found beneath “the cabin floor” and aft of the wheel bay for the main landing gear, the A321XLR’s RCT occupies space that, on prior versions of the A321neo, represented “part of what was the aft cargo compartment.” An optional feature that is available to operators and which can supplement the RCT is an additional center tank (ACT) that is located in “the front cargo” and which increases the range.

Changes made to the airplane’s flaps will result in the XLR being equipped with single-slotted flaps instead of the double-slotted flaps that are found on the A321ceo and other A321neos. Although the greater area of double-slotted flaps allows them to provide “slightly better takeoff and landing performance,” single-slotted flaps were chosen for the XLR because of their lightness compared to the “previous design,” with the weight savings deemed “more important than what is described as a minor performance deterioration.” In spite of the changes to the A321XLR’s flaps, its high- and slow-speed characteristics remain “the same.” Another change made to this A321neo variant is the Safran-provided landing gear, as well as the wheels and tires, all of which are new. When compared to “legacy aircraft” which have a pair of shock absorbers, the A321XLR’s landing gear will include only one. Additionally, the flight controls have also been updated with a rudder that is electronically controlled—an “e-rudder”—“replacing the previous system” which utilized cables. When compared to the 757 that it could replace, the A321XLR has the potential to burn 30% less fuel on a per-seat basis, in addition to being promoted as having trip costs that are reduced by 45% in comparison to “modern widebodies.” Assuming an airframe that utilizes the A321XLR’s range on 10% of its “annual trips,” Airbus also markets this version of the A321neo as providing operators with as much as $11 million in “additional profit” (“present value over 15 years”).

Program Status

Although the production of Airbus’s widebody airliners occurs solely at the company’s facilities in Toulouse, production of the A320neo airframes is spread between Toulouse and other Airbus facilities in Hamburg, Germany; Mobile, Alabama; and Tianjin, China. The first A320neo-series delivery from Tianjin (an A320neo for AirAsia) occurred in October 2017, while the first such delivery from Mobile (an A321neo for Hawaiian Airlines) took place in June 2018.

Although operators have reported that the A320neo is either meeting or exceeding its fuel-burn targets, the program has, subsequent to the November 2015 certification of the A320-271N, encountered a number of issues related to the PW1100G-JM engines. One of the issues encountered with the GTF engines is the fact that, when introduced into service, they required an extended start-up time to compensate for a condition called “rotor bow.” This condition, which impacts all engines to some degree and is otherwise known as thermal bowing, “is normally due to asymmetrical cooling after shut-down on the previous flight.” In comparison to the prior-generation of A320 engines—the CFM56 and V2500—this issue required that the time to start both PW1100G-JM engines be more than twice as long. While the V2500 requires around 2.5 min. to start both engines, and the CFM56 takes between 1-2 min., “initially, it took more than 7 min. to start up both [PW1100G-JM] engines.”

In addition to the issues related to increased engine start times, operators of PW1100G-JM-equipped airframes operating in “humid, hot, polluted and salty” environments have encountered other engine-related issues. Those issues have resulted in a number of GTF engines being removed prematurely, with the impact of those removals disproportionally affecting two airlines that conduct the majority of their operations in such conditions: Indian carriers IndiGo and Go Air. Indeed, the premature removal of PW1100G-JM engines impacted “some of IndiGo’s 17 Pratt-powered A320neos and Go Air’s five” that were operated at the time. The most significant issue that necessitated such removals—28 of them—had to deal with “leakage in an air seal for the No. 3 bearing,” a leak that “allowed traces of metal particles to enter to the oil system, which triggered chip-detector warnings.”

Beyond problems associated with the engine’s bearings, additional issues have cropped up in the form of “combustion chamber distress” that was caused by “blocked cooling holes in some panels.” The engine manufacturer attributed much of this issue to the operation of the airframe in “coastal environments with saltier air.” Finally, an issue that has impacted far fewer Pratt & Whitney-powered A320neos is fan-blade delamination, which is caused by “improper bonding between the titanium and composite parts” of the blade. Although this issue has not been significant for the A320neo’s first operator, Lufthansa, it was implicated as the cause for a high-speed rejected takeoff of an IndiGo A320neo in Mumbai in January 2017. Despite these issues with the PW1100G-JM, “the fan-drive gear system at the heart of the GTF has been problem free.”

References

  • AWIN Article Archives
  • EASA TCDS (A320) and FAA TCDS (737, LEAP-1B, PW1100G-JM)
  • Airbus, Boeing, CFM International and Pratt & Whitney Commercial Materials

Channel
Commercial Aviation
Market Indicator Code
Commercial
Article page size
10
Profile page size
10
Program Profile ID
1091