Airbus SAS delivered the first A321neo aircraft powered by the Pratt & Whitney PW1100G-JM engine to All Nippon Airways, making it the launch customer for that model with that much-anticipated geared turbofan power plant. ANA is Japan’s largest commercial airline and has orders with Airbus for 25 more A321neos, in addition to 15 other A320 series jets already in service.
The new ANA’s A321neo is configured for 194 passengers, with eight seats in first- or business-class and 186 in economy class. ANA has scheduled commercial service for the new jet on domestic routes starting in October.
The Airbus A320neo is a single-aisle aircraft developed to replace the Airbus A320 family – with "neo" indicating the “new engine option” (either CFM International’s LEAP-1A or Pratt & Whitney’s PW1100G engine). Airbus also adopted aerodynamic improvements, weight savings, and various improvements to the cabin design, as well as the new engine options, to improve fuel-burn, emissions, and passenger comfort.
According to the OEM, the A321neo will reduce fuel consumption by 15% immediately, and by 20% starting in 2020. Its non-stop range will be up to 4,000 nautical miles (7,400 km), which is “further than any other single-aisle airliner,” according to Airbus.
The geared turbofan engine technology is an important aspect of the aircraft’s energy efficiency. In contrast to the more common high-bypass turbofan technology, GTF engines are configured with the engine fan separated from the low-pressure compressor and turbine, so that each module operates at optimal speeds. The result is lower engine weight and greater fuel efficiency.
Pratt & Whitney’s geared turbofan engine is the result of a long research-and-development program reportedly costing $10 billion. In addition to the other operating advantages, the PurePower GTF series reportedly will feature reduced GHG emissions than previous-generation turbofan engines, with reduced noise levels and lower operating costs.
The launch of service for the GTF in the A321neo represents good news for the larger Pratt & Whitney program, after it was forced to cut its 2016 forecast for deliveries due to supply-chain disruptions and production delays.
Last month, Pratt & Whitney reported it has more than 8,000 GTF engines on order, not only from Airbus customers but from Bombardier and Embraer buyers, too. The developer claims it is “the only engine that powers the full range of new regional and single aisle platforms across the 70-220 seat size,” and has 42% of all announced A320neo series orders.