The Airbus A321XLR was an instant hit when it was first announced at last year’s Paris Air Show. Altogether, 24 airlines have ordered over 450 units of the plane. Earlier this year, Airbus shared that despite the global health crisis, the type is still on course to launch in 2023. So, which routes could we see the plane operate on?
The aircraft had a range of up to 4,700 NM (8,700 km) and a 30% lower fuel burn per seat compared with previous-generation competitors. The range of the plane allows it to suit well on long-haul services. However, airlines would be looking to operate the jet on routes that don’t require as much capacity on widebodies, such as the A350.
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Across the Americas
At the end of last year, United Airlines said it is looking to introduce the plane on international operations in 2024. The Chicago-based carrier said the jet would allow the company to explore serving additional destinations from Newark and Washington. This could even include flights to tourist hotspots further east, such as Zagreb in Croatia.
The airline was rapidly expanding before the global health crisis. So, once business picks up again, we could see the type on several new transatlantic routes.
When it comes to US outfits, American Airlines is another prominent customer of the A321XLR. The Texan company could be looking to fly the plane from its Dallas/Fort Worth base to distant domestic locations of Hawaii and Anchorage. The carrier could also reach South American cities such as Santiago and Buenos Aires from there.
Ultimately, the aviation industry could be in a completely different shape once the pandemic is over. Perhaps, we could be seeing this narrowbody on several popular routes that were previously conducted by widebodies. The A321XLR could perform some of the usual transoceanic suspects. Moreover, JetBlue’s anticipated flights to London could be joined by additional transatlantic operations to the likes of Madrid and Paris with the plane.
Across the pond
The likes of Wizz Air would be putting the aircraft to good use on vacation trips. The low-cost carrier looks to be one of the few airlines to come out relatively unscathed following the pandemic thanks to its liquidity.
With it finding new bases in the Middle East, it could be looking to connect Abu Dhabi with the likes of London and Reykjavik with the A321XLR. The Hungarian outfit could gain further confidence and expand as further east to Asia with the plane. Flights to India from Europe could be on the cards with the airline.
Emirati outfit Air Arabia would be putting the aircraft to fair use on its intercontinental services. The plane would already suit its existing outer network to countries such as Kenya and China. However, the carrier could further expand to the Americas with this model. The airline currently doesn’t have a long-range plane in its fleet. Therefore, there could be flights to popular cities such as New York with the airline.
When it comes to routes across Asia and Oceania, the likes of Qantas could deploy the plane well on operations from Sydney to destinations such as Tokyo. Overall, routes connecting Australasia and Eastern Asia would work fantastically with the A321XLR.
Altogether, the plane has massive potential when it comes to airlines either replacing existing widebodies on their routes or for expansion into new markets. There are many possibilities for the jet, but with the industry shaping up to be streamlined for most of this decade, the A321XLR could fit in perfectly.
What are your thoughts about where the Airbus A321XLR aircraft could fly? Are you looking forward to hopping on the plane? Let us know what you of the jet in the comment section.