Pratt & Whitney (P&W) next month expects to start the first test runs of the PW1100G for the Airbus A320NEO following its official completion today in Florida.

The event marks a major milestone for P&W’s two decades-long campaign to develop geared turbofan technology for the mainstream single-aisle market. The engine is due to be certified early in the third quarter of 2014, and should power the A320NEO for the first time on its initial test flight a few weeks after that.

P&W currently has 1,036 PW1100G engines on firm order for the A320NEO, or slightly under half the overall market that has so far selected an engine. The first P&W-powered NEO is due to enter service in October 2015.

The engine manufacturer plans to fly the PW1100G on its Boeing 747SP flying testbed in the second quarter of 2013—a few months before the competing CFM Leap-1A engine is due to fire up for the first time.

CFM expects to start flight testing the first engine in 2014, and according to Airbus will enter service late in the second quarter of 2016, roughly eight months after the P&W-powered version.

P&W is building eight PW1100G engines for the test program, and will likely begin assembly work on the initial flight compliant production engines in late 2013 to support the Airbus flight test and certification effort.

This is scheduled to include four aircraft: two A320; one A319; and an A321. The final version to fly with the PW1100G will be the A321NEO in late 2016, says Airbus A320NEO family Senior VP Klaus Rowe.

P&W Commercial Development Chief Engineer Graham Webb says hopes are high for a shorter flight test effort on the NEO engine thanks to lessons learned on the Bombardier CSeries and Mitsubishi MRJ test efforts. Certification of the PW1500G for the CSeries is expected shortly, with paperwork now in the process of being submitted to regulatory authorities, Webb adds, noting, “We’re trying to get more efficient in our test program,”

Rowe says Airbus is applying the same ‘lessons-learned’ process to shortening the test cycle for the NEO itself with over 2,000 “lines in the database” collected from recent test efforts ranging from the A380 to the on-going A320 sharklet.

Final detailed design of the A320NEO remains on track for ‘Spring’ 2013, Rowe adds.