How jetstar's new livery makes the plane more fuel efficient

Hamburg | In a hangar the kích cỡ of a thành phố block in Hamburg, northern Germany, factory workers are putting the finishing touches on newly minted aircraft.

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Near the back of an array of planes with the livery of exotic airlines – Aegean, Turkish, Pegasus, Viva – is a familiar flash of orange và silver-grey. This is the first of Jetstar’s order of 18 long-range Airbus A321neos.

Even as Jetstar’s parent Qantas on Friday unveiled a 15 per cent cut to lớn the group’s flight capacity this year, Jetstar was talking up its hopes that the A321neo will deliver a fillip khổng lồ its ability to lớn serve & even expand its network.

}" width="382" height="255"/>The first Jetstar A320neo gets the finishing touches at the Airbus factory in Hamburg. 

In particular, Jetstar sees the A321neo as key to getting back lớn 85-plus flights a week to lớn Bali. It also wants to lớn step up the customer experience on what, in the low-cost airline world, is almost a long-haul flight.

Sometime next month, Jetstar captain và Airbus fleet manager Greg Eastaway will metaphorically pick up the keys, steer the aircraft onto the Airbus plant’s runway, và fly it back khổng lồ Melbourne in several hops, probably via Mumbai và Broome.

Is he excited? “Yes. It’s lượt thích getting behind the wheel of a new car,” he says.

He and his colleagues will be making many trips to Hamburg. Jetstar’s plan is to fly a plane from Hamburg lớn Melbourne about once a month.

Then, once that order is complete, it will move on khổng lồ a fleet of đôi mươi extra-long-range (XLR) A321neo planes that are on order from 2024.

Airbus test-flew an XLR for the first time last week.

Bringing the A321neos online gives Jetstar a chance to rethink how it serves the region.

The new plane’s range is 5400 kilometres – an increase of 1500 kilometres on what its existing crop of Airbus jets can manage.

This means that in coming years Jetstar can take 11 of its Boeing 787s off the Bali route, focusing them on longer-range flights to Japan, South Korea and Hawaii.

Bound for Bali

Jetstar also hopes punters heading khổng lồ Bali will notice a difference. In the hangar, the eerily pristine interior looks much like Jetstar’s existing single-aisle Airbus fleet.

But the company is keen lớn talk up the improvements: the overhead luggage lockers can now take 48 kilograms, a 40 per cent increase by volume. A typical cabin bag can stand upright, allowing 60 per cent more onboard luggage.

}" width="382" height="255"/>The interior of the plane that Bali-bound Jetstar customers will be using in coming years. 

This tackles what is apparently one of passengers’ biggest gripes: the inability lớn squeeze their cabin bags into the overhead storage space, so that their stuff is either under their feet, or hastily stuck into another overhead bin miles down the plane somewhere.

The other big difference is that the seats come with charge points – something passengers have also been clamouring for as they increasingly use their devices lớn watch films during flights.

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Passengers may also be able khổng lồ hear the soundtrack of those films a little better: the new plane is supposedly 50 per cent less noisy.

Fuel efficiency

Hosting Australian & Japanese journalists alongside a group of Jetstar engineers & comms people, Airbus was keen khổng lồ talk up the planes on its customer Jetstar’s behalf.

The A321neo is 170 kilograms lighter than its predecessor, & is thus more fuel efficient. Remarkably, removing a single layer of paint has shed 50 kilos.

As well as having a longer range, it can chart a flight path up to 180 minutes from the nearest airport, compared with 120 minutes on other Airbus jets in its class, freeing up the plane to take a more direct route.

It also has an engine called the Leap 1A, which Eastaway says will “drive the efficiencies we’re hoping to get out of this aircraft”.

All up, fuel burn will be reduced 15 per cent – at a time when the cost of jet fuel is one of the drivers of the just-announced Qantas-Jetstar schedule shrinkage.

Jetstar will also be able to get more people on board each flight. In Jetstar’s interior configuration, the A321 can seat 232 passengers, up from a maximum of 220 in the A321ceo and 180 in the A320.

The cavernous hangars at Airbus’s sprawling operation on the Elbe River in Hamburg, northern Germany, were full of A321s making their way along the production line.

During an 18-day assembly process, the front, back, wings và tail are eventually fitted together like giant pieces of Lego. The planes are then wheeled into another hangar khổng lồ be painted and fitted out.

Airbus sale executive Victor Shigueoka said the company had taken 16,206 orders for the A320 “family” of planes, with 10,359 delivered and a backlog of 5847. Across four plants – Hamburg, Toulouse, Tianjin and Mobile, Alabama – Airbus is churning out 45 a month, & hoping khổng lồ get that lớn 65 next year.

Jetstar has placed an order for up to lớn 109 of the A321 class, but the confirmed portion of that is limited khổng lồ just the 18 A321neos & 20 A321 XLRs.

The new planes are supposed khổng lồ last until at least 2040. By that time, most airlines contemplating new aircraft orders might – just might – be looking at hydrogen-based options.

Airbus is weighing up a range of possibilities, involving hydrogen combustion engines with turbines, & hydrogen fuel cells powering electric motors. Some prototypes look lượt thích normal planes, others have a slightly Star Wars edge.

But designing an entirely new class of plane from scratch, & ensuring the airport và refuelling infrastructure to tư vấn it, is no mean feat.

In the meantime, the focus is on synthetic aviation fuels. Airbus sustainability officer Thomas Burger calls SAFs a “slam dunk” for cutting emissions. “We know how to vị it, it’s just a question of scaling it.”

But for now, much of that is still up in the air. Far closer at hand is Jetstar’s first A321, which – much lớn Easterley and his colleagues’ evident impatience – still has a few weeks before it takes wing.