There was excitement at London Luton Airport, as easyJet’s very first LEAP-1A powered A320neo “quieter aircraft” flew in to land.
The new plane touched down in Luton yesterday (June 14) at about 5.45pm, having flown over from Toulouse, France, where a ceremony attended by Carolyn McCall, easyJet CEO, Fabrice Bregier, president of Airbus Commercial Aircraft and Airbus COO, and Gaël Méheust, CFM international CEO, took place.
Compared to previous aircraft, the NEO brings the town significant environmental and operational benefits – up to 15 per cent saving in fuel burn and CO2 emissions, and a reduced noise footprint of 50 per cent on take-off and landing phase.
It even has a special livery in celebration and was created for easyJet by Airbus, Toulouse, who design and manufacture aircraft.
Carolyn McCall, easyJet CEO, said: “We strive to reduce our carbon and noise impact on the environment and local communities.
“By using modern Airbus aircraft and flying them efficiently we have reduced the carbon impact of our flights by a third since 2000.”
However, Andrew Lambourne from environmental campaign group, LADACAN, questioned the news.
He said: “We welcome this long-awaited step, but let’s remember that we were promised quieter aircraft hand-in-hand with significant expansion.
“Let’s hear details of measures to attract quieter planes to Luton by way of reduced landing fees for quieter types and increased fees for noisier types, and let’s have some visibility of aggressive targets to achieve an increasing percentage of quieter aircraft .
“Meanwhile, we are still calling on the airport operators to tighten noise controls, raising noisy flight penaties.”
But Carolyn was proud to announce that easyJet is Europe’s largest customer for the NEO, adding:“With the addition of the A320neo and A321neo to the future easyJet fleet and with further planned efficiency improvements, easyJet has now set itself a tougher carbon emissions target of 72 grams by 2022.
“This is a 10 per cent reduction from today’s performance and a 38 per cent improvement from 2000.
“With 130 NEO aircraft on order we are also Europe’s largest customer for this revolutionary new plane and really looking forward to operating the NEO and realising its cost, customer, carbon and noise benefits.”
Neil Thompson, London Luton Airport’s operations director, said: “Our airline partners are already operating some of the newest and quietest aircraft in the skies and we’re delighted they are now introducing even quieter planes, earlier than anticipated.
“Working constructively with all of our partners and local communities we have the toughest noise control measures of any major UK airport and we look forward to the arrival of more of these quieter planes in the coming years.”
The easyJet A320neo has a 186 seat layout, and is powered by CFM LEAP-1A engines.
Based at London Luton Airport, it will start operating commercial flights on June 16 to Amsterdam, Madrid and Edinburgh.