SWISS International Airlines picked up their first Airbus A320neo today at the Airbus Factory in Hamburg Finkenwerder. YourAviation LLC had the chance to attend the handover event and the delivery flight with SWISS team and a few other bloggers & photographers. Follow us as we get to see how such a delivery event works, the first of 25 new aircrafts for the airline based in Zurich.
The 20th of February 2020 is a day to remember, at least, it was for SWISS International Airlines. On this day, the airline received their first of 25 new Airbus A320neo (New Engine Option) in Hamburg Finkenwerder. This aircraft is part of a fleet-modernization program, due to reduce fuel consumption and increase efficiency in flight. The new plane can save up to 20% fuel compared to his predecessor, the Airbus A320ceo (current engine option), still used by many Airlines and known as the most sold single-aisle aircraft.
Airbus Factory Tour
We started our journey at Airbus in Hamburg Finkenwerder. The airport of Finkenwerder is only used by Airbus. There are only two “regular” flights taking-off there, one in the morning and one in the evening. Those are going to Airbus in Toulouse, the head-quarters and can be booked only by Airbus employees. Otherwise the airfield has the sole role to build, test and deliver new aircrafts.
At the beginning of our tour, we visited the Airbus A320 production line. This hall is separated in different sections. Every section is responsible for the implementation of a new part (e.g. section one for the wings and section two for the rudder). The Airbus production in Hamburg is open all year round, 24 hours a day. In a second stage of the tour, we visited the Airbus A330 and A330neo production line.
In this section of the factory, the main task is to build different parts of the fuselage. The final production and assembly line of this aircraft is located in Toulouse, where the parts are either shipped by ferry or brought with the Airbus Beluga, a specially designed cargo version of the Airbus A300.
The last stop of our tour was the fueling test area. There we could see the second A320neo of SWISS. The aircraft is currently being tested and shall be delivered soon.
As per the tradition, we spent the evening with the team of SWISS, Airbus, Pratt & Whitney and other partners in a local fine-dinning restaurant. We celebrated the delivery and achievement of many years of hard work. The dinner was a great opportunity to discover more about the companies involved, the processes and further interesting facts about commercial aviation.
Delivery Ceremony & Flight to ZRH
On the next morning, it was time for the big day. Our journey started at 07:00am at the hotel, roughly after having slept around 5 hours. We transferred by bus from our Hotel to the Airbus factory. Once arrived, we were welcomed by the Airbus Delivery Team, around 30 people.
After a short breakfast and a few interesting talks, it was finally time to see the aircraft for this first time. We were allowed access to the apron, offering perfect options for great photos and videos. Although the weather wasn’t the best part of the celebration.
Hamburg welcomed us with rain showers and a cold 3 degrees. The delivery ceremony on the apron consisted of the traditional “ribbon” cutting, placed in front of the aircraft.
In a next step, we boarded the aircraft. The new A320neo of SWISS is offering a bright and spacious cabin, an extremely silent experience and more place for hand-baggage. The new seats by the Italian firm “Geven”. Their economic pressure distribution assures a smooth ride to your final destination.
Our flight from Hamburg Finkenwerder to Zurich lasted around 1h10 and was a great opportunity to test the aircraft inflight. After the arrival in Zurich, a celebration was held in the SWISS hangar, offering different news outlets the chance to discover and report about this aircraft.
The official name of the aircraft is “Engelberg”. A popular touristic destination in Switzerland, known for their wide choice of winter and summer activities. Around 100 personal from the press and media were invited to attend the ceremony. The aircraft is currently undergoing final inspections and cabin improvements and shall hopefully begin flight operations very soon.
We hope you enjoyed this small review of the delivery of the aircraft. We’re confident this aircraft is a great plane fitting the SWISS operations perfectly and reducing the global carbon footprint.
Director & Founder / YourAviation LLC
Colin Voide attended the event organized by Airbus and SWISS on February 20th 2020. This article is offering you more insights of the delivery process.