The Pratt & Whitney PW1100G-powered A320neo on Tuesday received joint type certification from the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), clearing the way for first delivery to launch customer Qatar Airways by year-end.
EASA certification director Trevor Woods signed the European certificate and FAA Transport Airplane Directorate manager Jeffrey Duven signed the approval on behalf of the U.S. authorities. They presented the type certificates to Airbus executive vice president of engineering Charles Champion and Airbus A320neo chief engineer Pierre-Henri Brousse.
“This double seal of approval represents a great achievement for Airbus,” said Airbus president and CEO Fabrice Brégier. “It recognizes the hard work performed by all the teams at Airbus and Pratt & Whitney. It demonstrates the A320neo is meeting all requirements.”
The three A320neo flight-test aircraft powered by Pratt & Whitney engines accumulated more than 1,070 flight hours during some 350 flights. Some 300 hours involved the same aircraft in an airline-like environment to ensure operational maturity at entry into service, said Airbus.
Two other A320neos—powered by CFM Leap-1A turbofans—continue to fly test missions ahead of expected certification of that variant by the middle of next year. Certification plans call for the A321neo and A319neo in both engines variants to follow.
Airbus managed to meet the year-end target for certification of the Pratt-powered A320neo despite encountering at least two engine-related problems during the past year. In early October it confirmed that one of the test engines in A320neo MSN6101 suffered “minor damage” following hot-weather trials in Al Ain in the United Arab Emirates, forcing Airbus to ground the airplane for several weeks. News of that incident came some two months after MSN6101 returned to the air following discovery of a manufacturing defect in a 10-inch-diameter retaining ring in the powerplant’s combustor section. A resulting three-month “pause” in flying forced the manufacturer to revise testing dates and modify the A320neo flight-test program to accommodate the changes. For example, anA320neo powered with Leap-1As had to undertake additional work previously earmarked for the GTF-poweredA320neos and unrelated to engine systems.
Airbus has drawn orders for more than 4,300 A320neo-family narrowbodies from 75 customers since its launch in 2010.