Feb 20, 2013

Jetstar Japan gets its first sharklet A320

Ben Sandilands — Editor of Plane Talking

Ben Sandilands

Editor of Plane Talking

The second of dozens of A320s the Jetstar franchises have on order with sharklets and in later deliveries, the full NEO or new engine option kit, has been delivered to Jetstar Japan.

It becomes the eighth A320 in the Jetstar Japan fleet since it started operations last July, which will grow to 24 of the single aisle Airbuses by the end of next year.

It follows the delivery of the first sharklet equipped current version of the A320 to the Jetstar group to Jetstar Asia, based in Singapore last week. These subtleties were missing from the original announcement from Airbus earlier today,  and reported earlier on Plane Talking  but the message remains the same, Jetstar is growing.

The issue for Jetstar brand owner Qantas, and Virgin Australia, and other carriers who have placed or are contemplating new engine option orders of Airbus single aisle jets, or the Boeing 737 MAX series, is what is the risk that one of these alternatives will prove to have a clear operational advantage over the other.

It’s enough to keep fleet planners awake at night, and for maybe another three years until it is clear which of the high tech engine options, and on which airframe, delivers the best cost efficiencies.

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One thought on “Jetstar Japan gets its first sharklet A320

  1. StickShaker

    The single dominant issue likely to dictate a clear operational advantage of one of these narrow body platforms over the other is the performance of the Pratt & Whitney geared turbofan vs the CFM Leap56. The P&W GTF is reported to be performing well at this early stage and has had a significant conservative margin engineered in as part of its design – it is not pushing the envelope in terms of the engine or the gearbox. The Leap56 (from what I have read) is pushing materials technology limits to allow higher engine temperatures to achieve the desired increase in performance (fuel efficiency) – no doubt CFM know their engine well but it is not a strategy that leaves much margin for error.

    Boeing vigorously defended their ability to offer the P&W GTF on the 737 Max then opted not to do so – either due to engineering complexity (resulting in extra costs) or simply because CFM made an offer to good to refuse. Airbus is offering both engines on the 320 Neo and therefore have their bets covered each way – Boeing doesn’t and the 737 Max entails some extra degree of risk as a result.

    If the Pratt & Whitney GTF on the 320 Neo performs significantly better (more fuel efficient) than the 737 Max/Leap56 combination and if that performance margin exceeds the switching costs of airlines (particularly fuel price sensitive LCC’s) to move from 737 to 320 Neo fleets then Boeing will be in a very difficult situation.

    Its going to be fascinating to watch how this pans out over the next few years.

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