The Airbus single-aisle medium-range A320neo had its maiden flight above Toulouse in southwest France for two hours on Thursday and it is backed by thousands of unit orders.
Airbus began production of the aircraft's predecessor, the popular A320 in 1986 and has built and delivered about 6,200 A320s in the 28 years since then.
Earlier this month, Ryanair announced a firm order for 100 of the rival Boeing 737 Max 200 and an option for an additional 100.
Ryanair to buy 100 new Boeing 737 MAX 200
NEO is an acronym for 'new engine option' and airlines will be able to choose between two different new, more fuel-efficient, quieter engines.
The 'sharklet' winglets at the tips of the aircraft's wings, aerodynamic improvements, and weight reductions also contribute to the A320neo's fuel efficiency and the aircraft will burn 20% less fuel per seat compared to the previous A320, according to a company statement.
Fabrice Brégier, Airbus president and CEO, said the NEO programme is a prime example of the company’s incremental innovation strategy, citing the new engine option family’s more than 3,200 total orders received from 60 customers.
“We have 60% market share so far, and we believe we will continue to lead the way with this fantastic A320neo Family,” he added during planeside comments after the no.1 aircraft’s successful landing. “It’s just the beginning for this programme!”