The manufacturer has delivered model serial number (MSN) 10,000 to Middle East Airlines – Air Liban, an Airbus A321neo, the third to join MEA’s all-Airbus fleet. Airbus has also received approval from EASA for an increased take-off weight A330-900.
On Friday (October 9, 2020), Airbus celebrated the delivery of model serial number (MSN) 10,000, and Airbus A321neo, to Middle East Airlines – Air Liban. The aircraft is the third A321neo to join the carrier’s all-Airbus fleet, expanding their fleet to 18 aircraft. In the coming months, MEA expects to take delivery of an additional six A321neos. The delivery took place today in Toulouse and the ceremony was attended by MEA’s Chairman and Director General, Mohamad El-Hout, who said,
“We are honoured to receive the state of the art A321neo with its distinctive serial number 10,000 coinciding with the 75th anniversary of Middle East Airlines and specially after receiving MSN5,000 back in 2012. Since we first acquired an A320 Family aircraft in 2003, we have not only benefited from the outstanding operational efficiency of the aircraft but were also the first airline to introduce the wide-body cabin product on a single-aisle aircraft which has become a trend in the airline industry afterwards. Unfortunately, due to the current situation in Lebanon, this time we will not be able to celebrate the delivery of the MSN10,000 in Beirut, as we did with the MSN5,000, but I am sure that in these challenging circumstances, it is a ray of light, hope and motivation to surpass our nation’s difficulties.”
Also commenting on Friday’s delivery, Airbus Chief Commercial Officer, Christian Scherer, added,
“Airbus is proud to continue building its long-standing partnership with Middle East Airlines which already operates one of the most modern Airbus fleets in the world. As an all Airbus operator, MEA benefits from the Airbus’ unique fleet commonality between aircraft families and is now adding the third highly fuel-efficient A321neo to step up the game. I admire the agility and the resilience of this company in this complex environment. Delivering MSN10,000 is a milestone that demonstrates the success of the A320 Family and we thank our customers globally for their confidence in our products.”
After 23 years of A320 Family production, MEA took delivery of MSN 5,000 in 2012 and Airbus has now double the delivery total in only eight years. MEA’s new A321neo is powered by Pratt & Whitney’s PurePower PW1100G-JM engines and is configured with 28 Business and 132 Economy Class seats. Additionally, the aircraft is equipped with the latest generation IFE system and high speed connectivity. The A321neo offers a 20 percent fuel burn reduction as a 50 percent reduction in noise footprint.
In a separate announcement on Thursday (October 8, 2020), Airbus announced European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) approval of an increased take-off weight A330-900 variant. The aircraft derivative has a maximum-take-off-weight (MTOW) of 251 metric tonnes, a payload increase of six tonnes or a range increase of 650 nm. Corsair will be the launch customer for the newest A330-900 variant.
In Thursday’s announcement, Airbus A330 Engineer, François Kubica, said,
“Airbus is always supporting its customers to find solutions by advancing our products. With the new 251 tonne weight variant the A330neo is more flexible than ever to meet their current and future requirements.”
The increased MTOW A330-900 will be ideal for longer trans-Pacific or Asia-Europe routes. The 900 is a longer fuselage variant of the A330neo and can accommodate from 260-300 passengers in a typical three-class configuration. Certification for the shorter A330-800, which can accommodate 220-260 passengers in a three-class configuration, is expected to take place next year. The A330-900 retains 99% spares commonality and the MTOW increase was achieved through weight-neutral structural reinforcements and landing gear adaptations. The gear modifications have also resulted in an extension of time-before-overhaul from 10 to 12 years, resulting in maintenance savings.