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Airbus Begins Production Of The A320neo Family Aircraft
By Steve Hall

July 9, 2012 - The first 'cutting of metal' for the Airbus A320neo has taken place in Toulouse, France. Marking the start of manufacturing of the airliner, machining began of the first engine pylon component at the “Saint-Eloi” Airbus dedicated pylon and nacelle factory in Toulouse.   

Pylons are structures which hold the engine to the wing. The new pylon for the A320neo retains high commonality with the existing A320’s pylon design, while also incorporating more titanium as well as some advanced architectures developed for the A380 pylon.

In addition, the new component also features an advanced ‘aft-pylon-fairing’ concept specifically tailored for the more fuel efficient NEO engines. The Airbus A320neo is a series of enhanced versions of A320 family under development by Airbus. The letters "neo" stand for "New Engine Option".

The main change is the use of the larger and more efficient engines which results in 15% less fuel consumption, 8% lower operating costs, less noise production and a reduction of NOx by at least 10% compared to the A320 series according to Airbus.

Customers will have a choice of either the CFM International LEAP-X or the Pratt & Whitney PW1000G. The airframe will also receive some modifications, including the addition of "Sharklet" wingtips to reduce drag and interior modifications for the passengers comfort such as larger luggage spaces and an improved air purification system. The choice for new engines include the CFM International LEAP-X and the Pratt & Whitney PW1100G. 

Tom Williams, Executive Vice President of Programs at Airbus said: “This first metal cut of the engine pylon component for the A320neo heralds the completion of the design phase and start of production for the world’s fastest selling airliner. We are excited to be already starting manufacture of the world most eco-efficient single-aisle airliner today.”



The Airbus Saint-Eloi site is specialized in the design, manufacturing, assembly, equipping and testing of engine pylons and design and manufacturing of titanium nacelle parts for all the aircraft in the Airbus family. Featuring the latest efficient ‘moving-line’ lean-production concept, the facility is also the leading European centre for hard metals machining and transformation, including titanium.  

The A320neo ‘new engine option’ for the A320 Family will enter into service from late 2015. It incorporates latest generation engines and large Sharklet wing-tip devices, which together with the new engines will deliver a significant fuel savings. With more than 1,400 firm orders since its launch in 2010, the A320neo Family has proven to be the fastest selling commercial aircraft program ever.
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