Brussels Airlines has offered a sneak peek at the first-ever brand-new aircraft to join its fleet. The A320neo, the first of five that will join the Belgian carrier, completed its paint job in Toulouse and will enter service in October.
The Airbus A320neo (registration: OO-SBA) was painted in Brussels colors at Airbus’ facility in Toulouse-Blagnac Airport (TLS). The airline posted videos to social media showing the brand-new aircraft receiving its paint job and rolling out of the factory.
While its livery is ready, the A320neo won’t be delivered to Brussels Airlines just yet. According to Joëlle Neeb, spokesperson for Brussels Airlines, the airline expects its arrival towards the end of August. Following delivery, the airline is planning an official unveiling in September before the jet’s entry into service in October.
The next-generation narrowbody is set to operate its first passenger flight in October, which would prove a historic first for Brussels Airlines. Over its 16-year history, the carrier has never flown a brand-new aircraft, having always relied on second-hand planes.
Brussels Airlines said,
“With these new state-of-the-art aircraft, Brussels Airlines is taking an essential step in the modernization of its fleet and in the significant reduction of CO2 and noise emissions on its medium-haul network.”
Data from ch-aviation shows the airline’s current all-Airbus fleet - consisting of 16 A319s, 18 A320ceos and nine A330s - have all had previous owners. The five brand-new neos were allocated to Brussels Airlines by parent company Lufthansa, which recently took delivery of its 600th Airbus aircraft, making it the largest Airbus customer in history.
Brussels Airlines has a total of five A320neos on order, with all five aircraft due to arrive by the end of 2024. With OO-SBA set for delivery within the next three months, the carrier hopes to fit in two more neo deliveries in this year, although these two aircraft won’t enter service until 2024. The airline’s final two jets are slated for delivery later in 2024.
The A320neos, offering a significant improvement in emissions and noise, will phase out older planes in Brussels’ Airbus A319 fleet. According to Planespotters.net, the airline currently has 16 A319s with an average age exceeding 18 years - its A320ceos are also on the older side at over 17 years on average.
Brussels Airlines has already welcomed four aircraft to the fleet this year in the form of two A320 ceos and two wet-leased CRJ-900s ahead of its summer ramp-up - Belgium’s flag carrier flies to around 90 destinations in over 40 countries across Europe, Africa and North America.