Airbus may look at offering its new engine option on the A318 in the future, but has decided to focus on the A319, A320 and A321 for now because these models represent its "core market".

Speaking to ATI today, Airbus chief operating officer for customers John Leahy said the manufacturer "at a later date may look at the A318", but the model has been left out at this stage to concentrate on its core products.

The A320 will be the first model to offer a Neo version when it enters service in spring 2016, with the A321neo set to follow six months later.

The A319neo will be the last model to be made available under the new programme, although no firm date has been set.

Airbus has not set a cut-off date for when existing A320-family models will no longer be available.

"I would envision that you could always order an A320 with the existing engine if there is enough demand," says Leahy.

However, he points out that "at some point in time" it will make more sense for customers to order the Neo because of the fuel savings the new engines offer over models powered by International Aero Engines V2500s. These fuel savings will compensate for the extra weight added by the Neo engines, says Airbus.

Excluding engines, nacelles and pylons, the airframe for the A320neo will be 250-300kg (550-660lb) heavier than the current A320 airframe.

Source: Air Transport Intelligence news