• Jun 22, 2011
Saving fuel takes to the skies with Virgin Airlines' purchase of 30 Airbus A320neo commercial jets equipped with LEAP-X engines.

That revolutionary LEAP-X engine is manufactured by CFM International and makes use of composite materials and other proprietary advancements to improve the fuel efficiency of existing jet technology. The result, according to CFM, is a 15-percent reduction in fuel consumption, which roughly equates to a savings of $1.6 million per LEAP-X-equipped jet per year.

Of course, the 30 Airbus A320neos aren't free; Virgin spent $1.4-billion for them. Given their astronomical price tags, Virgin Airlines won't be raking in millions in additional cash overnight. However, since today's jets have an average lifespan of some 20 years and fuel costs seem to still be on the rise, Virgin Airlines stands a reasonable chance of breaking even on its massive investment.

[Source: Gas 2.0]


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 13 Comments
      wardialer
      • 3 Years Ago
      i can't wait for the savings to be passed on to customers through lower fares! /sarcasm
      Nick From Montreal
      • 3 Years Ago
      After electric cars, boats and planes are prime candidates for electrification. The US general aviation industry is painfully behind with most piston engines still running on *leaded* avgas. Just moving these guys to diesel/Jet-A, like these big jets will be a fantastic task. Hopefully, Virgin can market their Jets as being "greener" than the competition and other airlines and jet manufacturers will see fuel economy as a selling point.
        BipDBo
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Nick From Montreal
        The number of piston engine airplanes is so small compared to cars that it is insignificant. Also, a long time ago, the standard fuel for these was switched to a much lower lead content than the old "leaded gas." The lack of diesel pistons over the history of aviation has not been for lack of interest. The high weight to power ratio and the fact that diesel is ignited by compression makes it difficult to apply to aircraft. There is a recent engine, though that is very impressive, called DeltaHawk, which uses both a turbo charger and a super charger in-line. Hopefully soon, GE and NASA will make their open rotor engine quiet enough for commercial use. This will be a much greater leap in efficiency.
          ELECTRIC4ME
          • 3 Years Ago
          @BipDBo
          OK, I had to look up the open rotor engine. For others who may be unfamiliar with it, see this promo: http://www.gereports.com/ge-and-nasa-to-test-open-rotor-jet-engine-systems/ (note that on the demonstration airplane the engine(s?) was mounted higher so the rotors wouldn't be a hazard on the ground (presumably).
        Marco Polo
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Nick From Montreal
        'Boats'? What size did you have in mind?
          Ernie Dunbar
          • 3 Days Ago
          @Marco Polo
          @letstakeawalk: Still flogging that? It would be far cheaper and easier to just convert these engines to natural gas. It would result in the same emissions, too.
          letstakeawalk
          • 3 Days Ago
          @Marco Polo
          Fuel Cells are an ideal way of providing electrical power to boats.
      masteraq
      • 3 Years Ago
      The Pratt&Whitney geared turbofan is revolutionary. The competing LEAP-X is merely evolutionary.
      Nick
      • 3 Years Ago
      I usually don't like Virgins, but I'll have to make an exception here.
      Noz
      • 3 Years Ago
      Someone has to take a step forward...well done Virgin.
      Tweaker
      • 3 Years Ago
      The question is what the hell this has to do with cars? Airbus sold over 600 of these planes at this weeks airshow, what does it matter that Virgin bought 30? And btw, the competitor engine for these planes has similar savings.
      Ernie Dunbar
      • 3 Years Ago
      Thus, each aircraft costs $46.7 million. The fuel savings over a new aircraft without the LEAP-X engines would actually pay for the entire jet in a little over 29 years. So yes, this is significant, although I'm sure that something else will come along in less than 29 years to one-up these fuel savings, or otherwise replace the kind of fuel they use (ie, some kind of synthetic fuel, or a Mr Fusion or something). Either way, good for Airbus.
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