Virgin America orders first LEAP engines for A320neo

Virgin America has chosen CFM International’s LEAP engine to power 30 new Airbus A320neo aircraft scheduled to begin delivery in 2016.

In addition, the airline has selected CFM56-5B engines to power 30 of its current technology A320s on order. This news folllows the airline’s decision in January to nearly triple its fleet size with an order for 60 new Airbus A320 family aircraft – including the first commercial order for the A320neo.

Together, says the airline, the A320neo and the LEAP engine promise to deliver one of the world’s most fuel-efficient commercial aircraft, with more than 15% improved fuel efficiency, corresponding improvements in carbon efficiency and double digit reductions in NOx emissions. Virgin America estimates this will deliver a fuel cost savings to the carrier of $1.9 million per aircraft per year.

“Choosing LEAP gives us the best of all worlds – the most advanced technology, significant fuel savings, consistency with our current fleet and the reliability of CFM,” said Virgin America president and CEO David Cush. “Our airline is known for taking a different approach to amenities, design and service in order to make travel better. But we’re just as committed to finding new ways to make travel more sustainable, even as we grow. The A320neo and the LEAP engine together will create one of the world’s most fuel-efficient commercial aircraft. Our investment today will ultimately help us take a major leap forward in terms of efficiency.”

“We are thrilled that Virgin America is launching LEAP and look forwarding to expanding an already great relationship,” said Jean-Paul Ebanga, president and CEO of CFM. “But this is just the beginning; this engine has a great future.”

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