Virgin America to launch Leap-X on A320neo

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Virgin America is to be the launch customer for the CFM International Leap-X powerplant for its Airbus A320neo twinjets.

It will put the engines on 30 A320neos, delivery of which is scheduled to start in 2016.

Virgin America has also chosen the CFM56 to power another 30 baseline A320s on order.

It values the combined agreement at $1.4 billion.

Virgin America's deal marks the first order for the Leap-X, the rival to the Pratt & Whitney PW1100G on the A320neo which has already been selected by several customers.

"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 chief David Cush.