A320neo conversions were special case: Leahy

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Airbus has explained its backtracking on A320 order conversion to the A320neo as a limited special case.

The airframer had previously insisted that it would not allow customers for the current A320 variant to switch orders to the A320neo.

But it recently admitted that 30 A320 aircraft ordered by Indian carrier IndiGo as well as five A321s for US operator Spirit Airlines had been converted to their corresponding re-engined versions.

Chief operating officer for customers John Leahy says that these changes were undertaken in “very special and unique circumstances”, adding: “We’re holding the line on that.”

The airframer has secured 2,523 firm orders for the A320neo family, which Leahy claims is the “world’s fastest-selling aircraft”.

Airbus chief executive Fabrice Bregier says he believes the development risks for the re-engined twinjet are “well under control”.

Both powerplant programmes, he says, are delivering “very promising levels of performance and maturity”. The A320neo will be powered by CFM International Leap-1A or Pratt & Whitney PW1100G engines.

“This programme can only deliver more than what we’ve committed to right now,” says Bregier.