What Routes Could American Airlines Fly With The Airbus A321XLR?

The US aviation space is abuzz with the news that American Airlines has ordered 50 brand new Airbus A321XLRs at the Paris Air Show. But one question remains on the lips of many; where will American deploy these aircraft?

A321XLR-American-Airlines
American Airlines A321XLR. Photo: Airbus

Rival JetBlue has placed a similar order and let it slip that they will deploy their Airbus A321XLR aircraft from their New York and Boston hubs. If we were to apply the same logic to American, we may be able to predict where this aircraft would be most useful.

What routes is the A321XLR best suited for?

The Airbus A321XLR is best suited for long-range low-density routes. They are ideal for routes that are currently served by expensive wide-body aircraft like Boeing 777-200s or 767. These might be routes between two destinations, or from a hub, that does not normally get a lot of traffic. For example, New York to Nice, France (normally traffic would be routed through Paris first).

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The A321XLR has a range of 4,700 nautical miles (or 8,700 km) which allows it enormous flexibility to fly around the world.

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The range of the new Airbus A321XLR. Photo: Airbus

Let’s first look at the American hubs…

What hubs could they use?

American Airlines has a lot of hubs, 10 in total:

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  • Charlotte – American’s hub for the Southeast.
  • Chicago–O’Hare – American’s hub for the Midwest.
  • Dallas/Fort Worth – American’s hub for the South.
  • Los Angeles – American’s hub for the West Coast and its transpacific gateway.
  • Miami – American’s primary Latin American hub.
  • New York–JFK – American’s secondary transatlantic hub. JFK also serves as a major connecting point for other Oneworld carriers.
  • New York–LaGuardia – American’s second New York hub.
  • Philadelphia – American’s primary transatlantic hub.
  • Phoenix–Sky Harbor – American’s western hub.
  • Washington–National – American’s hub for the capital of the United States. 

As with JetBlue, it is likely that American will use the A321XLR for routes to Europe (transatlantic) and South America. Thus we would predict that Philadelphia and Miami will see plenty of A321XLR action.

It is also likely that they will base a few out of New York JFK, to compete with JetBlue and other A321XLR carriers.

What routes could the A321XLR fly? 

As we know they will likely be based out of Philadelphia and Miami, we can predict the following destinations will be considered.

From Philadelphia:

  • Brasilia, the capital of Brazil, is now within range from Philadelphia at 3,753 miles. This affluent market of Brazilians are looking for an alternative destination to New York and could easily be swayed by this service.
  • Medellín, the tourist destination of Colombia, will also benefit with a direct cheaper link to Philadelphia. This route is only 2,328 miles, so could also be operated by an A320.
  • Dubrovnik, Croatia is another possible tourist destination that could be flown by the A321XLR. This route has a distance of 4,573 miles so is in the upper limit of the A321XLR.
The Airbus A321XLR. Photo: Airbus

From Miami:

  • Anchorage, Alaska. Locals at both ends would love to have a direct link between the freezing glaciers and the sunny shores of Miami. With rich miners and other seasonal workers traveling between the two destinations, this route could be quite lucrative for American Airlines. The route itself as a distance of 4,001 miles.
  • Manchester, England. Many tourists or holidaymakers heading to Florida are presented with either a flight from London to Miami or Manchester to Orlando (to the theme parks). A direct route between the two cities would bring an important missing link for the airline. The route would be 4,318 miles, so within easy reach for an A321XLR.

But with these aircraft not to be delivered until 2023, anything could happen.

What do you think? Let us know in the comments if you think these routes are possible.

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Reece Makinson

I would love to see the A321XLR at Manchester! There is some talk the MAN – PHL route ending because of not enough demand! But I hope the A321XLR can help keep American keep the MAN route open.

Joanna Bailey

Agreed, Manchester is such an important airport for the UK.

Jonathon Stafford

It will probably include Phoenix to South American cities. A321neo aircraft are based out of sky harbor

Stamatis Stamatiou

Thank you for this. But I think you may be confusing miles with nautical miles. The plane’s expected range is 4,700 nm. As you stated the PHL to DBV route is 4,573 miles, which equals to approximately 3,974 nm. This is more than sufficient for the aircraft to fly. If AA wants to push the aircraft’s limit they could probably reach as far as Greece/Turkey, however that remains to be seen considering headwinds over the Atlantic.

Richard Johnson Jr

First of all it’s Colombia not Columbia. American flies to Medellin from Miami on a319 and sometimes it is not a full flight. I can see American flying this plane from Miami to Lima, Sao Paulo, Buenos Aires and Santiago.

Kurt Tappe

I’d love to see more direct flights to Central and South America from PHL. I *hate hate hate* connecting through MIA. A321XLR’s could be used on PHL-PTY, PHL-SJO, PHL-BOG, PHL-UIO, PHL-CCS, PHL-LIM. Unfortunately PHL-GRU, PHL-SCL, and PHL-MVD are too far, but any way we can get there faster & better with any plane, I welcome it.

Joanna Bailey

Those routes would be great to see… let’s see what AA can come up with 🙂