Air Arabia’s New Airbus A321XLR Fleet – What We Know So Far

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Air Arabia has twenty A321XLRs on order. What will the carrier use them for, and what will they be like to fly? Let’s have an in-depth look at the future fleet.

Air Arabia has twenty A321XLRs on order. Photo: Air Arabia

What was Air Arabia’s order?

Air Arabia, a large low-cost-carrier specializing in flights from the Middle East, has a sizeable order with Airbus that it made back in 2019 at the Dubai Air Show. The order at the time consisted of 120 aircraft:

  • 73 A320neos
  • 27 A321neos
  • 20 A321XLRs

“The addition of the A320neo, A321neo, and A321XLR complements our existing fleet and allows us to expand our service to farther and newer destinations while remaining loyal to our low-cost business model. We look forward to working with Airbus and receiving the first delivery,” said Adel Al Ali, Group Chief Executive Officer of Air Arabia, in a press release

It is the order of the twenty A321XLRs that are most interesting, as it will be the longest-range aircraft on the Air Arabia fleet. And with a route network stretching over several continents, this aircraft is going to be incredibly powerful.

Currently, Air Arabia has an all-Airbus fleet with 54 A320 family aircraft, including the A321LR. All the aircraft have an all-economy configuration, and likely the A321XLR will be no different.

A321
The aircraft will likely have the same interior as the A321LR. Photo: Air Arabia via Twitter

Where will Air Arabia fly these aircraft?

With the XLRs based in the low-cost-carriers hub of Sharjah Airport (SHJ), UAE, it may open up some impressive new routes.

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SHJ
The range of the A321XLR from Sharjah Airport (SHJ). Photo: GCmaps

The aircraft will be able to cover all of Europe, Africa, and Asia, it will also be able to touch Iceland, Bali, Indonesia, and Broome, Australia. This means that the aircraft will be able to open up tourism routes previously the domain of widebody aircraft, like UAE to Japan, or South Africa.

If the aircraft transfers to the base of Air Arabia Maroc in Tangier Ibn Battuta Airport, Morocco, then the destinations include Brazil, North America (east coast), Canada, and more. Pretty fantastic for a low-cost carrier, and would allow Morocco to become a tourism destination for those in cities like New York and Chicago.

morroco XLR
The range of the Airbus A321XLR from Morocco. Photo: GCmaps

New hubs

There is another take on where Air Arabia may deploy the A321XLR for opening new regional hubs for the airline. After all, perhaps not everyone will want to fly to the UAE, Egypt, or Morocco.

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Recently, the airline has opened a new subsidiary in Abu Dhabi – Air Arabia Abu Dhabi. If the A321XLR is based here, it could allow longer routes to destinations not served by partner Etihad.

“This exciting partnership supports our transformation program and will offer our guests a new option for low-cost travel to and from Abu Dhabi, supplementing our services.” 

The carrier previously invested in a low-cost carrier based in Nepal, but withdrew from the market back in 2008. Could they return to that market and be one of the powerhouses of Southern Asia?

We will have to wait and see what happens with the XLR fleet and until more news is released.

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

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