It might come as a surprise to many to know the LEAP-powered A320neo is already doing tests outside Europe. The aircraft is now in Bolivia. This comes after flying into French Guiana on September 9.
It looks like Airbus has accelerated the LEAP testing, with no public statements.
After a request Airbus shared this with us: The A320neo is performing high altitude tests in Bolivia in La Paz and Cochabamba for a bit more than a week. The route the A320neo took was from Toulouse to Cap Verde, Cayenne and then Cochabamba. With regards to your questions on orders of tests, what happens is that we take opportunities in flight testing when they arise while ensuring our targets on certification and delivery.
In fact Addison, according to Aviation International News (ainonline.com) on August 10, quoting Airbus, some flight activity had been re-assigned: “Airbus is redistributing A320neo certification work among its three flight-test articles to recoup time lost on the first aircraft [MSN 6101], which has not flown since … a … Pratt & Whitney PW1100G-JM geared-turbofan (GTF) engine [defect] in April. The manufacturer has revised … the A320neo flying program to accommodate the changes…” It is understood that MSN 6101 still has not fllown again.
Does it mean that the A320neo with LEAP engines could potentially get the certificate first?