PARIS, Apr 6 – European aircraft makers Airbus has brought forward the date when the A320neo, with its new engine, will operate from 2016 to autumn 2015, it said in a statement Wednesday.
"The date of the first operation by airlines has been advanced from 2016 to October 2015," a spokesman told AFP.
"Together with our engine partners, Pratt & Whitney and CFMI (CFM International), we’re making every possible effort to bring the first A320neo aircraft into service for our customers as quickly as possible," commercial director John Leahey said a statement.
They were pushing forward the delivery date after having received more than 300 orders for the A320neo, he added.
Airbus launched the A320neo project to offer more fuel-efficient engines for its medium-haul aircraft.
With its new engines and special "sharklet" wing-tip devices for greater fuel efficiency, the company says it can cut fuel consumption by 15 percent — or up to 3,600 tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions per year, per plane.
The aircraft maker estimated in December that the market for this model of the plane would come to 4,000 over the next 15 years.
Airlines have the option of using different engines in the Airbus, but the US Pratt & Whitney PurePower PW1100G engine has so far been the most popular choice.
By launching its medium-haul aircraft with a different engine, Airbus stole a march on its main rival, US aircraft makers Boeing, which had similar plans for its B737.
Boeing may yet decide to launch an entirely new medium-haul aircraft, but that would require an investment of billions of dollars.
Airbus preferred to rework its existing A320 on the grounds that while they would not have the technology for a completely new model until 2025, rising oil prices meant that the need for more fuel-efficient aircraft was more pressing.