Airbus said on Wednesday that it has agreed with Lufthansa Group to postpone delivery of the first A320neo until early 2016. According to a statement issued to AIN, the manufacturer continues to work with Lufthansa and engine maker Pratt & Whitney on efforts to bring the new narrowbody into service “within the next few weeks.”
“To deliver on our priority—for our customers a service-ready A320neo from Day 1—some more documentation items need to be addressed by Pratt & Whitney and Airbus in its role as the overall manufacturer of the aircraft,” said an Airbus spokesman.
Having now collected orders for more than 4,400 A320neos, Airbus expects the delay to result in negligible financial effect. However, the delay does mark a failure to meet a long cited deadline of year-end 2015 for delivery of the re-engined narrowbody. It also marked another apparent hitch involving the Pratt & Whitney PW1100G, problems with which forced Airbus to redistribute certification work among its flight-test articles to recoup time lost on the first aircraft, grounded by a defect in one of its geared turbofan engines in April and again in late September due to another still unnamed anomaly.
On September 30 Airbus confirmed it had to ground the first Pratt-powered A320neo for a second time during its flight-test campaign, after finding a “minor problem” in one of its engines following hot-weather trials in Al Ain in the United Arab Emirates. At the time the company insisted that the incident would not affect plans to deliver the first airplane by the end of the year. However, an effective change in launch customer resulted when Qatar Airways balked at a temporary operating restriction involving the GTF, leading to Lufthansa's agreement to take the first production example instead.