UPDATE 1-Airbus seals riposte to rivals as regulators back revamped jet

Tue Nov 24, 2015 3:56pm EST
 
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(Adds analyst comment, engine approval)

By Tim Hepher

PARIS Nov 24 (Reuters) - Airbus said on Tuesday it had won certification for the A320neo, paving the way for first delivery of a revamped, best-selling jet that has shored up its joint domination of the global jet market with Boeing.

The European planemaker said the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) of the United States had jointly approved the model, which is a fuel-efficient upgrade of its popular A320 medium-haul jet.

The approval is a boost for United Technologies unit Pratt & Whitney, whose decision to develop a new generation of engines accelerated airliner projects from Canada to Russia and whose engines will power the first A320neo.

Qatar Airways is expected to take first delivery next month of the first of more than 4,300 jets sold since Airbus launched the A320neo, promising 15 percent fuel savings.

A similar version powered by CFM International, co-owned by Safran and General Electric, should win certification in coming months, Airbus said. Its engines won their own regulatory approval on Friday.

Airbus took the risky decision to upgrade its most popular model, which serves as cash cow for Europe's largest aerospace group, in December 2010 after witnessing a challenge from industry upstarts led by Canada's Bombardier.

Boeing followed suit a year later with plans to upgrade its popular 737, a move that also generated thousands of sales.   Continued...