Airbus has started final assembly of the first A320neo at its Final Assembly Line (FAL) in Toulouse.
The final-assembly process for the Airbus A320neo has begun with the join-up of the forward and aft fuselage sections.
These fuselage sections recently arrived from Airbus’ factories at St. Nazaire in France and Hamburg in Germany respectively.
Once this phase is completed, the next stage is joining up the wing to the fuselage.
Airbus has given the first A320neo the manufacturer’s serial number 6101, indicating that it is the 6,101st A320-family aircraft built. The manufacturer had accumulated orders for 10,241 A320-family aircraft (including current engine option ‘CEO’ and new engine option ‘NEO’ jets) as of February 28.
Overall it takes about one month to complete the final assembly of an Airbus A320-family aircraft, according to the manufacturer.
On average, every seven hours an A320-family aircraft leaves one of the three A320 family FALs in Toulouse, Hamburg and Tianjin.
According to Airbus, the A320neo program is on track for the first flight of the A320neo to take place in the fourth quarter of 2014, as originally planned; and the first delivery to a customer in the fourth quarter of 2015.
With a total of more than 2,600 orders received from 50 customers since its launch in 2010, the A320neo family has captured some 60 per cent of the market, according to Airbus. However, Boeing only launched the 737 MAX some nine months after Airbus launched the A320neo.
Given this timing difference, the Boeing 737 MAX family has accumulated orders at a rate comparable to the A320neo family. The 737 MAX has now accumulated orders for well over 1,800 aircraft.