Airbus A321neo in test flight “tail hit”

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An Airbus A321neo, the latest Airbus series, missed its landing on Thursday 12 February at Perpignan airport (pictured).

The plane, still in its testing and certification phase, made a “tail hit,” according to France 3 Languedoc-Roussillon. A “tail hit” describes the situation when the aircraft’s rear fuselage touches the ground.

The incident will almost certainly delay certification, according to Flightglobal, a website specialising in news from the aviation sector.

Asked by the magazine at the Singapore Airshow, Fabrice Bregier, executive director of Airbus, said the aircraft was entirely reparable.

“These things happen” he said, stating also that this type of testing was intended to push the aircraft “well beyond” the required limits.

Fabrice Bregier also claimed that the aircraft test program could be delayed for several weeks without disrupting the existing schedule for deliveries to airlines.

Delays are an all too common feature of the industry. Expected at the end of 2015, the first delivery of the Airbus A320neo eventually took place on Wednesday 20 January at Hamburg for Lufthansa.

The German airline has ordered a total of 116 aircraft of this type.

[In recent years, a delay of a few weeks would have been seen as a major success for Boeing. Ed]