Late last week, details began to emerge from Airbus that Lufthansa, not Qatar, would become the launch operator for the much-anticipated A320neo (New Engine Option). The anticipation for the ‘neo’ revolves around the fact that it is expected to be 15% more efficient than its predecessor due to the new engines developed for the aircraft.
The reason that led to Qatar no longer being the launch customer had to do with the final tweaks to the Pratt & Whitney PW1100G engines that are being used as one of the power plant options for the ‘neo’. Qatar had raised concerns that a few minor software and hardware modifications would potentially create operational restrictions until the issues were resolved.
Lufthansa however was comfortable with the work that needed to be done in order to confidently put the A320neo into service so it now becomes the launch customer for the new model. The modifications are performance-enhancing and do not create safety concerns.
The latest information from LH suggests that the delivery of their first ‘neo’ will take place on December 22 and it will enter service on January 6 when it flies from Frankfurt to Hamburg.
LH has 116 ‘neos’ on order of which 61 will fly for Lufthansa mainline while the remaining will be distributed among other LH Group carriers.