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The Airbus A320neo performing a hot climate test (Photo: Airbus)

First A320neo Delivered in the Middle East

The first Airbus A320neo has officially been delivered in the Middle East after Jazeera Airways took delivery of its first of the type on Sunday. The aircraft, 9K-CAQ, first arrived in the Middle East on May 25 when it landed from Toulouse in Abu Dhabi. 15 days after being in a hangar for maintenance inspections in Abu Dhabi, 9K-CAQ took off for its new home.

Jazeera Airways immediately put its new aircraft into service following its delivery with a quick one hour hop to Dubai on June 11. The plane is also scheduled to operate a flight to Beirut on June 11 and is expected to fly to various other destinations in the airline’s route network. The Kuwait-based carrier is expecting two more A320neos prior to May 2019. In addition to these new aircraft, the airline will also take delivery of two A320ceo aircraft soon.

The aircraft wears Jazeera Airways’ standard livery featuring various shades of blue, however the word “neo” is written underneath the airline’s logo to promote the new aircraft type. The Kuwait budget carrier will offer a two class configuration onboard with both economy and a European style business class.

CFM International was chosen to provide LEAP-1A engines for the aircraft. According to Flightglobal, Irish-based lessor Avolon confirmed that it is the source which is leasing the A320neo to Jazeera Airways. The company added that this is the fourth plane currently leased to Jazeera from the company.

CEO Rohit Ramachandran said that the new planes will enable Jazeera Airways “to make cost savings while improving performance and increasing the range covered by the single-aisle aircraft.”

The A320neo range from Kuwait International Airport. The aircraft will be able to serve multiple new destinations that the airline currently can’t due to fleet restrictions. (Photo: GCmap.com)

Kuwait International Airport serves as the airline’s hub and is the second largest airline operating from the airport. With the A320neo’s 4,000 mile range, the airline will be able to serve all of Europe as well as most African nations and a large part of Asia. Currently, Jazeera Airways’ longest flight is between Kuwait and Kochi, India but with the newer longer range jets, the airline may add further destinations.

In April, Jazeera Airways stated that the carrier is aiming to be the launch customer for the A320neo in the Middle East. Qatar Airways was initially supposed to be the launch customer in the Middle East and the rest of the world for Airbus’ A320neo after placing an order for 50 planes in 2011.

Qatar Airways quickly began cancelling deliveries after issues began appearing with the Pratt & Whitney PWG100G engines. In December 2017, the airline reaffirmed its earlier order with a firm order for 50 A321neo with the Airbus Cabin Flex (ACF) configuration with deliveries expected to commence in 2019. Over 100 A320neos will be delivered in the Middle East throughout the next few years to multiple airlines including Iran Air, FlyNas, Gulf Air, Yemenia, and Middle East Airlines.

Mateen Kontoravdis
Mateen Kontoravdis
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