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?
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).
The A321XLR has a range of 4,700 nautical miles (or 8,700 km) which allows it enormous flexibility to fly around the world.
Let’s first look at the American hubs…
What hubs could they use?
American Airlines has a lot of hubs, 10 in total:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.