bthebest
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A320neo Launch Customer

Wed Jan 04, 2012 4:45 pm

Who is the A320neo launch customer?

VX was obviously first to order and is stated as being the A320 variant launch customer http://www.airbus.com/presscentre/pr...with-virgin-americas-60-a320-deal/

ILFC was first to order the A321neo, although is not specifically stated to be the launch customer - http://www.airbus.com/newsevents/new...lects-100-a320neo-family-aircraft/

However various sources report that Qatar will have first delivery of all three variants? - http://www.flightglobal.com/news/art...0-a320neos-and-eight-a380s-364922/

Anyone have any other information?
 
RubberJungle
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RE: A320neo Launch Customer

Wed Jan 04, 2012 6:25 pm

It all depends on how you define "launch customer". Virgin America was the first to sign, but Qatar Airways will be the first to receive. The A320neo variant will be the first off the production line, followed by the A319neo about six months later, and the A321neo about six months after that.
 
PresRDC
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RE: A320neo Launch Customer

Wed Jan 04, 2012 7:31 pm

Any customer who ordered the A320neo with Leap-X engines will not be the launch customer, as the PW1100G has at least six months of exclusivity on delivery positions before the first Leap-X aircraft will be delivered.
 
Eagleboy
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RE: A320neo Launch Customer

Wed Jan 04, 2012 7:39 pm

First airline to fly the aircraft is the 'Launch customer'

So that means Qatar.
 
bthebest
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RE: A320neo Launch Customer

Wed Jan 04, 2012 8:24 pm

Quoting Eagleboy (Reply 3):
First airline to fly the aircraft is the 'Launch customer'

So that means Qatar.

Although is does specifically say in the AIRBUS press release that:

"This is the first firm order for the A320 new engine option; therefore Virgin America becomes the launch customer for the A320neo"

I have read elsewhere that the launch customer doesn't necessarily fly the aircraft first, but they have primary input on the development of the aircraft and it is therefore optimised for their operations, the advantage for ordering first. However, they do normally fly them first too.
 
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scbriml
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RE: A320neo Launch Customer

Wed Jan 04, 2012 9:28 pm

Quoting bthebest (Thread starter):
However various sources report that Qatar will have first delivery of all three variants? -

But, importantly, I haven't seen either Airbus or QR themselves say this. I also find it a little difficult to believe they can wait until 1,000 are already on order and still be the first to receive them. However, we know that Al Baker has been playing "silly buggers" with Airbus for some time over this order.

I wonder if something hasn't been lost in translation and the meaning is that QR is/will be the first airline to order/operate all three variants, as opposed to being the first for each variant? If you see what I mean.
Time flies like an arrow. Fruit flies like a banana!
There are 10 types of people in the World - those that understand binary and those that don't.
 
Viscount724
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RE: A320neo Launch Customer

Wed Jan 04, 2012 9:34 pm

Quoting Eagleboy (Reply 3):
First airline to fly the aircraft is the 'Launch customer'

The more usual definition is the first customer to place a firm order (not including letters of intent, options, etc.). Sometimes the launch customer isn't the first operator.
 
roseflyer
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RE: A320neo Launch Customer

Wed Jan 04, 2012 10:18 pm

Launch customer in terms of first to operate comes with a lot of pride, but also a lot of work and cost. When the first airplane delivers to a customer, it isn't the same as the 100th. It doesn't come ready to be operated 12 hours per day at 99% dispatch reliability like later models do. The first model is typically overweight with a lot of rework and refurbishment on it as a result of it being used in flight testing. The launch customer has to be first to establish the maintenance programs, crew operations, airport operations, etc. On a deriviative it is less of a problem, but there is a lot of cost involved with being a launch customer. Much of the cost comes with the administrative costs as everything from ETOPS to crew ops to servicing has to be established and covered. The engineering staff is pushed quite hard.

For that reason many airlines don't want to be a launch customer. Southwest launched the 737-MAX and not AA or any of the other airlines that committed to the airplane earlier. Qatar Airways is obviously willing to go through the process of being a launch customer, so they'll get it first. The benefits of being a launch customer are that the airline typically gets a deep discount on the airplane as it had significant rework done to it since it was part of flight testing. Also the airline gets to be more heavily involved in the design of the airplane which can help suit it to their requirements.
If you have never designed an airplane part before, let the real designers do the work!
 
bthebest
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RE: A320neo Launch Customer

Thu Jan 05, 2012 12:15 am

Quoting scbriml (Reply 5):
I wonder if something hasn't been lost in translation and the meaning is that QR is/will be the first airline to order/operate all three variants, as opposed to being the first for each variant? If you see what I mean.

It's possible, although I can't find the original information for Qatar's order information regarding deliveries i.e. press release.

Quoting RoseFlyer (Reply 7):
Qatar Airways is obviously willing to go through the process of being a launch customer, so they'll get it first.

However both VX and Airbus clearly state, using the exact phrase, that VX will be the launch customer?
 
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Stitch
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RE: A320neo Launch Customer

Thu Jan 05, 2012 12:32 am

Quoting scbriml (Reply 5):
I also find it a little difficult to believe they can wait until 1,000 are already on order and still be the first to receive them.

QR ordered the A350XWB a full year after SQ, but they will be the first customer to operate the plane. Now it is true QR was the first airline to order the A350TNB, but with SQ committing to the program a year earlier you'd think they'd have gotten first shot... Then again, SQ signed their sales contract for the A380 after EK (per Wiki), and yet they were first to fly...

QR has received the significant bulk of their A320 orders, so I don't see this as being a case of QR being allowed to switch outstanding A320 delivery positions for A320neo delivery positions (yes, John L. said he would not allow customers to do this, but this is QR we're talking about - when Baker barks loud enough, he tends to get what he wants).
 
roseflyer
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RE: A320neo Launch Customer

Thu Jan 05, 2012 12:36 am

Quoting bthebest (Reply 8):

I think one reason you are finding problems defining the Launch customer is that the A320 NEO was not launched in the conventional sense. The typical design process has an airplane in the product development and preliminary design phase for a few years while its configuration is established. At this point the airplane is still a paper concept airplane. Once the design definition is adequately complete the design goes to the board of directors for formal approval to be offered to the airlines. At this point the manufacturer can respond to requests from airlines with the concept airplane. Also they can reach out to airlines and existing customers. The formal launch is the next step where the board of directors approves the cost of designing and building the airplane. In the past this has happened when they get an airline to agree to purchase the airplane. They are the typical launch customer and receive the first airplanes and participate in the design process.

The A320NEO was not launched in the conventional sense. Airbus began the design and build process before they had an airline commit to the airplane. Therefore there wasn't a launch customer in the traditional sense. Airbus knew that the NEO would sell well and didn't need an airline commitment for their board to approve it. Therefore the first airline to order it wasn't necessarily fulfilling the role of technical design and introduction into service. They worked with airlines wanting to purchase the airplane through the negotiation process to find an air carrier to fill that role, which appears to be Qatar.

On a side note the 737 MAX similarly was not done with the traditional design process. It was offered for sale before the board committed to it, so the airlines ordering it and its formal launch happened at a different stage of the design process. This goes to show that the minimum change derivatives like the A320NEO and 737 MAX apply to so many airlines that Airbus and Boeing are not following the conventional design process. They know they can sell them to a wide variety of customers and don't need a single large airline to commit to the program to give it validity, so old terms like launch customer aren't necessarily applicable.
If you have never designed an airplane part before, let the real designers do the work!
 
B6JFKH81
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RE: A320neo Launch Customer

Thu Jan 05, 2012 1:05 am

As long as we (B6) aren't the first ones flying it, I'm happy LOL! Let someone else go through the "teething issues" and let us get the modified engines with the fixes installed, that works just fine for me 
"If you do not learn from history, you are doomed to repeat it"
 
Hamlet69
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RE: A320neo Launch Customer

Thu Jan 05, 2012 3:04 am

scbriml,

That's my reading of it as well. QR will be the first to operate all three variants (they are the technical 'launch customer' of the A319N), but not necessarily the first to operate each individual model.

FWIW, I had heard AirAsia was going to get the first A320N. But then again, before that I heard VX was. So right now, it's more of a guesstimate. . .

Regards,

Hamlet69
Honor the warriors, not the war.
 
RubberJungle
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RE: A320neo Launch Customer

Thu Jan 05, 2012 9:13 am

Quoting scbriml (Reply 5):
But, importantly, I haven't seen either Airbus or QR themselves say this.

You might not have seen it, but 50 journalists were present at the Dubai air show when Qatar's Al Baker and Airbus's John Leahy said it.

http://cde.cerosmedia.com/1T4ec299cdc2d68012.cde
 
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scbriml
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RE: A320neo Launch Customer

Thu Jan 05, 2012 12:18 pm

Quoting bthebest (Reply 8):
However both VX and Airbus clearly state, using the exact phrase, that VX will be the launch customer?



There's no doubt that VX is the launch customer in that they were the first to place a firm order. However, given they selected the LEAP-X engine, they certainly won't be the first to operate the A320neo.

Quoting RubberJungle (Reply 13):
You might not have seen it, but 50 journalists were present at the Dubai air show when Qatar's Al Baker and Airbus's John Leahy said it.

http://cde.cerosmedia.com/1T4ec299cd...2.cde



Thanks for that, but It still seems odd that neither Airbus nor QR mention it in their official press releases.
Time flies like an arrow. Fruit flies like a banana!
There are 10 types of people in the World - those that understand binary and those that don't.
 
jfk777
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RE: A320neo Launch Customer

Thu Jan 05, 2012 12:46 pm

At this point any airline that ordered the A320neo in 2011 will get to say its a "launch customer".
 
RubberJungle
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RE: A320neo Launch Customer

Thu Jan 05, 2012 1:06 pm

Quoting scbriml (Reply 14):
Thanks for that, but It still seems odd that neither Airbus nor QR mention it in their official press releases.

Just because it's not on official paper doesn't mean it isn't happening. Some people on this forum seem to expect an "official" announcement of everything Airbus and its customers do. The absence of a press release doesn't mean anything, it simply means Airbus doesn't feel obliged to chronicle each event or decision - especially those which might stir up awkward questions.

Press releases are for the lazy people who think pasting a company-written statement amounts to journalism. It doesn't. Press releases are a quick way for pressured reporters to fill space - and the PR companies know that, which is why they pump out so many. It's a great way of luring journalists away from doing their job, which is to find the story that you'll never see on an Airbus-headed statement.
 
icebird757
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RE: A320neo Launch Customer

Thu Jan 05, 2012 1:34 pm

Quoting B6JFKH81 (Reply 11):
As long as we (B6) aren't the first ones flying it, I'm happy LOL! Let someone else go through the "teething issues" and let us get the modified engines with the fixes installed, that works just fine for me

I totally agree! Going though the E-190 process was a pain, more times than others.
LGB....where you can watch the grass grow because the traffic is so slow.
 
bthebest
Topic Author
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RE: A320neo Launch Customer

Thu Jan 05, 2012 2:05 pm

Quoting RubberJungle (Reply 16):
The absence of a press release doesn't mean anything, it simply means Airbus doesn't feel obliged to chronicle each event or decision - especially those which might stir up awkward questions.

It was more that there were press releases, but that this information wasn't included in them, which would typically be quite a big PR moment, especially for QR.

Quoting scbriml (Reply 14):
There's no doubt that VX is the launch customer in that they were the first to place a firm order.

It's interesting that they have chosen to be the launch customer, based on the definition of playing a part in the development, but with a relatively small order. If an airline were going to put their own resources behind it you would expect them to want to get more out of it, like with WN and the MAX. Can we expect a follow-on order?
 
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lightsaber
Crew
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RE: A320neo Launch Customer

Thu Jan 05, 2012 3:05 pm

Launch customer, in the industry, is usually the first customer to operate the type. For example, LH group, for LZ, ordered the C-series but made it clear they wouldn't be the 'launch customer.'

Quoting RoseFlyer (Reply 7):
The benefits of being a launch customer are that the airline typically gets a deep discount on the airplane as it had significant rework done to it since it was part of flight testing. Also the airline gets to be more heavily involved in the design of the airplane which can help suit it to their requirements.

Another benefit is the airframe and engine maker reimburse the airline for the costs of creating the initial procedures. Since those procedures are copied by other airlines, it helps airlines 'tied into service centers' sell that service. Hence why LH used to often be a launch customer to aid their sister division Lufthansa Technik.

Quoting RubberJungle (Reply 1):
by the A319neo about six months later

Wasn't F9 to be the A319 launch customer?

Quoting PresRDC (Reply 2):
Any customer who ordered the A320neo with Leap-X engines will not be the launch customer, as the PW1100G has at least six months of exclusivity on delivery positions before the first Leap-X aircraft will be delivered.
Quoting Viscount724 (Reply 6):
The more usual definition is the first customer to place a firm order (not including letters of intent, options, etc.). Sometimes the launch customer isn't the first operator.

Not if your on the side trying to get the type into service!   Heck, every option and variant has to have a 'launch customer.'

Quoting B6JFKH81 (Reply 11):
As long as we (B6) aren't the first ones flying it, I'm happy LOL! Let someone else go through the "teething issues" and let us get the modified engines with the fixes installed, that works just fine for me

Burned a wee bit by not only being the E190 launch customer but the most 'intense user?'   

Lightsaber
"They did not know it was impossible, so they did it!" - Mark Twain
 
bthebest
Topic Author
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RE: A320neo Launch Customer

Thu Jan 05, 2012 3:59 pm

Quoting lightsaber (Reply 19):
Wasn't F9 to be the A319 launch customer?

Their order is up in the air (no pun intended) as it hasn't appeared on the Airbus order book yet

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