If Airbus opts to go ahead with an A320 re-engining programme, it will price the so-called A320 family New Engine Option (NEO) with a premium of $7-8 million - or one-half the net present value of the 15% fuel savings the aircraft would deliver over today's generation of A320s and Boeing 737s, says chief salesman John Leahy.

Key features of the NEO package would be sharklets, revealed at 2009's Dubai air show, and power by either Pratt & Whitney P1000G geared turbofan or CFM International Leap X engines.

Pratt & Whitney and CFM suggest their new engines will burn 16% less fuel than the International Aero Engines V2500 or CFM56 engines powering the current A320 and 737 fleets. But realised fuel gain on an A320 installation would be slightly less, as 1-2% is typically lost upon installation on an airframe, and neither engine was designed for retrofitting on an existing aircraft but, rather, to be optimised on an entirely new airframe.

Airbus A320 GTF
 © Tim Bicheno-Brown/Flightglobal

Leahy says there will not be any increased maintenance costs for the NEO on a comparative basis with today's CFM56 and V2500. He adds that the A320 is likely to be the first candidate for re-engining. There had been speculation that the A321 could be first, because its range is marginal on US transcontinental and transatlantic routes. But, says Leahy, the addition of sharklets, which lowers fuel burn by 3.5-4%, provides the range boost needed to cover these routes.

Leahy also says he is "comfortable" with Pratt & Whitney's P1000G maintenance projections of 20% lower maintenance costs compared with today's engines. That figure that has raised eyebrows at some airlines, but Leahy says Airbus tests of a P1000G on an A340-600 testbed support Pratt's claims.

A go-or-no decision on the NEO programmes is expected from Toulouse within two months.

Source: Flight International