EasyJet took delivery of its first more fuel-efficient Airbus A320neo on Wednesday and immediately announced plans to cut average carbon emissions across its fleet by 10% over the next five years.

The ‘new engine option’ or neo version of the A320 offers savings of 15% on fuel, cutting CO2 emissions by the same amount, and should reduce noise on take-off and landing by 50%.

EasyJet chief executive Carolyn McCall hailed the aircraft, which began commercial operations last year, as “a step change for our fleet efficiency”.

She said: “This marks a new stage for easyJet. This is world leading technology. The neo is so efficient.”

The carrier has 130 neo aircraft on order, 100 of the 185-seat A320s and 30 235-seat A321s, making it the biggest European customer for the aircraft.

Speaking as she took delivery of the first of these aircraft on Wednesday, McCall said: “We have reduced the carbon impact of our flights by one third since 2000. With the addition of the A320neo and A321neo and with further efficiency improvements, easyJet has set itself a new carbon emissions target of 72 grams per passenger kilometre by 2022.

“That is a 10% reduction from today and a 38% improvement on 2000.”

McCall said the larger A321s would also “help us grow at slot-constrained airports”, having noted: “We fly a primary airport network.”

Airbus chief executive Tom Enders said: “The neo is the perfect weapon for the next phase of easyJet’s expansion in Europe. It will lower fuel burn and is incredibly quiet.”

Gaël Méheust, chief executive of engine manufacturer CFM, described the Leap-1a engine on the A320neo as “revolutionary”

He pointed out the aircraft has been ordered by more than 100 airlines, but he said: “This would not have been a success if not selected by EasyJet.”

The easyJet aircraft was due to enter service today (June 15) operating from Luton.

EasyJet’s average carbon emissions per passenger kilometre have fallen from 116 grams in 2000 to 80 grams in 2016.