A321XLR Officially Launched By Airbus At Paris Air Show

Airbus has taken to the stand at the Paris Air Show to officially launch the A321XLR. This new aircraft is not only a derivative of the excellent Airbus A321XL (which in turn is a version of the A321neo) but would now be the world’s longest-range single-aisle aircraft, pushing 4,700 nautical miles!

Airbus A321XLR. Photo: Airbus

 

What are the details?

The new aircraft will have the following specifications:

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  • Range of 4,700 nautical miles or 8,700 km.
  • Up to 220 passengers in a two-class seating configuration.
  • 30% less fuel burn savings per seat compared to the original A321
  • Passenger comfort features found on other new Airbus planes; better humidity onboard, bigger luggage bins and LED lighting
  • Airbus also claims that the new aircraft can be configured with long-haul seats, including premium suites found on some carriers
Airbus
The new aircraft will be very flexible for airlines. Photo: Airbus

This is all accomplished with a new center tank and the rear center fuel tank from the original A321LR. Airbus expects to take orders of the new aircraft at the Paris Air Show, but will only deliver the aircraft from 2020 onwards.

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This aircraft will fill in a valuable niche for airlines. Many routes currently operating are long range but low demand. For example, a flight from Brisbane to Honolulu needs to be flown by a large double-aisled aircraft. These larger aircraft are harder to fill up completely and make profitable.

“This [aircraft] will enable operators to open new world-wide routes such as India to Europe or China to Australia, as well as further extending the Family’s non-stop reach on direct transatlantic flights between continental Europe and the Americas.”Airbus Press Release

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Additionally, the A321XLR could fill in the ‘middle-of-the-market’ niche that Boeing has been rumored to be working on for the last few years. Airlines might be tempted to buy the new aircraft from Airbus, rather than waiting around for Boeing to sort through its problems with the Boeing 737 MAX and 787 Dreamliners.

You can check out the full press release here.

Who is interested in the aircraft?

We know that there are a few airlines interested in the Airbus A321XLR.

American Airlines is looking to buy around 100 of the aircraft to replace their fleet of 757 and possibly 767 aircraft. This would be a huge win for Airbus, as it would not only mean a major carrier has put confidence in the aircraft, but that they have instantly penetrated the continental USA (long held as the territory of Boeing). This would be a repeat of a previous Paris Air Show, where American Airlines ended up buying a variety of Airbus A320s, much to the displeasure of Boeing (and caused them to quickly rush out the 737 MAX series).

Additionally, IAG (owners of British Airways and Iberia) are looking to buy the A321XLR. This would also be a huge order, with the airline using the aircraft to open new routes to several small USA destinations from Europe.

Jetblue has also looked into the aircraft. Whilst we don’t know where it would be deployed, we suspect it would be to launch more transatlantic routes.

JetBlue A321LR
JetBlue’s could use this aircraft to open more routes across the sea. Photo: JetBlue

It remains to be seen how successful this aircraft would be, but for Airbus, the timing could not have been better.

What do you think? Let us know in the comments!

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Nigel

Fantastic feat of engineering! Looking forward to seeing it fly 👍
Not sure from the original Airbus press release, but it looks as if the XLR will have a (large) rear fuel tank INSTEAD OF the additional center fuel tanks of the LR…thus freeing up extra main hold space for baggage…

Vince

It is a very effective move from Airbus. A few hundred million to upgrade the A321neo and you get yourself a few hundred more orders. In contrast, Boeing is looking at spending 10-20 billions to get possibly double that amount of orders. The ROI for Airbus is just off the charts.

Patrick Hogan

Promising and timely announcement of the new A321XLR.
What is its MTOW distance and landing distance, please?

Richard Johnson Jr

I wonder if Delta will change some of their orders to this plane from the 100 A321neo that is set for 2020. Delta needs over 100 planes for this market for the ageing 757 and 767. I am slowly starting to warm up to airbus.

Herb33

It should be interesting to note that while A320 family is considered narrow body, its fuselage width is actually 7 in wider than the B 707 ( which was continued through 727,737 and 757 ) .
321 XLR Gould be ideal replacement for 757

Andy

I think the NMA will turn out to be a 767MAX. There isn’t much that needs changing on the 767 in the first place. It would make sense to re-wing and re-engine the 767 and upgrade the systems. The development costs and the asking price would be significantly lower.

AQ

Send it on routes which 757-200 (not 757-300) operates

Matehaere Rewiri

The a321XLR would be ideal for air NZ instead of the neo version that the airline has ordered. For instance maybe a route like Wellington to Perth or even Singapore, however it depends on the airports runway. It’s length.