Earlier this month, Supply Chain Matters noted that Airbus would not be able to meet a major program milestone, namely delivery of the first A320neo model aircraft by the end of 2015. According to published reports, initial airline delivery customer Lufthansa elected to postpone the delivery due to added technical acceptance and documentation needs required from engine manufacturer Pratt & Whitney as well as Airbus.
What made this development even more noteworthy is that earlier in December, Lufthansa stepped-up at the last minute to serve as first delivery customer after former designated launch customer Qatar Airways refused to take delivery because of last-minute operating limitations of Pratt’s new geared turbofan, PW1100G Pure Power aircraft engine.
A recent published Bloomberg report comes with the headline that Airbus has now delivered the initial aircraft to Lufthansa but almost no one noticed. The aircraft was delivered on January 20 to a Lufthansa receiving facility in Hamburg but without what Bloomberg describes as: “..a horde of Airbus employees, music, or overstuffed buffet.” Instead, Airbus updated its A320neo web page and media gallery with photos of executives standing in front of the brand new aircraft. (included in our commentary) An Airbus spokesperson indicated to Bloomberg that there will be a big celebration party in the next few weeks when the airline takes delivery of its second new aircraft.
Further noted as odd to aviation enthusiasts on social media was that Lufthansa and Airbus apparently neglected to utilize the “neo” emblem on the brand new aircraft. (just over the heads of the pictured executives)
According to Bloomberg, no one is indicating why the lack of distinction.
Readers can, of course, speculate on their own regarding what may be behind this unusual set of events associated with a major aircraft development program. However, as our aerospace industry readers can well attest, commercial aircraft is a highly regulated industry with many specification and certification requirements attached to major component parts, engines and structural air frames. Lufthansa and other airline customers such as Qatar must be assured that all new aircraft have proper certification documentation including aircraft engines.