Air Malta’s Airbus A321XLR Could Fly To The United States

Air Malta has shared its intention to fly to the United States with its future Airbus A321XLR aircraft. The airline will introduce two of the planes in 2024 and it plans to operate them on long-haul routes to destinations such as New York.

Airbus A321XLR
There are already big plans for the Airbus A321XLR. Photo: Airbus

Long-distance connection

ATW Online reports on the Maltese flag carrier’s plans. The firm spoke about its ideas at the World Aviation Outlook Summit in Malta on December 5.

The A321XLRs will be sourced from fellow Maltese outfit Malta Medair. Air Malta hopes to use them to connect travelers across other continents to its country. The company wants both US tourists and Malta’s expatriates to have greater links to the island via its services.


It is not only the United States that the airline will be seeking to travel to with its upcoming aircraft. It has confirmed that it also has plans to connect with India.


This is because Air Malta chairman Charles Mangion wants to capitalize on India’s growing local economy. This is set to develop even further in the next decade.

“An India connection is important if the local economy is to continue to grow,” Mangion told ATW Online.

Air Malta Aircraft Over City
By diversifying its fleet, Air Malta will be able to further expand to destinations in other continents across the globe. Photo: Air Malta

Suitable operations

The A321XLR is the perfect aircraft to help Air Malta to expand on its long-haul operations. The XLR in its name stands for extra-long-range. This is because the airline will be able to serve between 185 to 236 passengers up to 4,700 nautical miles. Meanwhile, it will burn 30 percent less fuel than its previous-generation counterparts.

Currently, Air Malta holds 10 A320s, with three of them being A320neos. However, the carrier is also planning to eventually introduce two more A320neos in order to gradually phase out its A320ceos. 

Air Malta Aircraft Over Runway
Air Malta mostly uses its Airbus A320s to connect with other European destinations. Photo: Air Malta

Other orders

The A321XLR has been in high demand since its introduction at the Paris Air Show in June 2019. Yesterday, it was reported that Chilean low-cost carrier SKY Airline signed a Purchase Agreement with Airbus for 10 of the jets to help with its international expansions.

This news followed United Airlines’ order for 50 of the long-range aircraft. These deliveries will also start from 2024, at a deal estimated to be worth $7.1 billion. Meanwhile, Saudia Arabian LCC flynas confirmed a firm order for 10 A321XLRs at the Dubai Air Show last month.

With Boeing struggling over the last year due to the 737 MAX groundings, many other airlines could also be enticed to follow suit and jump on the A321XLR bandwagon.

Simple Flying reached out to Air Malta for comment on its plans for the A321XLR but did not hear back before publication. We will update the article with any further announcements.

What do you think of Air Malta’s plan to serve the United States and India with the Airbus A321XLR? Let us know your thoughts in the comment section.


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Paul Johnson

Why would you want to spend 10 hours on an A321? Whether it’s an XLR or not it’s still a single isle A321, they are bad enough for anything more than 3-4 hours as it is. Anything more would be a nightmare. This is only the start in my opinion of the battery hen era for passengers. I have my reservations with some of the wide bodied twin engined aircraft already for long haul. An A321 on long haul is frankly laughable and just shows what these companies think about passenger comfort outside those willing to pay big premiums for… Read more »

Farhan Nazar

You seem to blame the uncomfortable long haul experience on the aircrafts, that’s not how it works. The seating of the plane is the airline’s Choice, not the plane manufacturers. An A380 would be uncomfortable if the airline choose an dense configuration, An A321 could be extremely comfortable if the airline choose a spacious configuration. So don’t immediately scoff at the idea of A321 long haul, because if it’s an uncomfortable experience it’s the airline’s fault not the plane.


@Paul Johnson
People were willing to sit for 10+ hours on the upper deck of a 747, and that upper deck is also effectively a narrowbody. Not all airlines configured the upper deck as business class; for example, for a time, British Airways used the upper deck as an economy mini-cabin for passengers traveling with babies and toddlers.

Paul Johnson

A slightly different experience I would say..


More than slightly different: the upper deck of a 747 is shorter, and has more sloping side walls and a lower ceiling than an A321. So, if anything, the 747 upper deck experience would be claustrophobic.


People want to spend less and less for long Haul flights. Probably in my life, i will not fly with this airlines and with this airplane. I think it’s more comfortable to Fly with a wide body airplane. People don’t understand The differences between a flag carrier and small Airlines.

Paul Johnson

So you think Air Malta are really going to configure the aircraft for comfort, they aren’t they will ram as many as possible onto it. It will be no different to an easyJet flight with the exception of free food and drink, maybe…

Farhan Nazar

But that’s not a guarantee either is it? Seeing is believing Paul don’t judge an airline before before you actually experience their products.

(Btw I’ve flown on Air Malta many times over the years and I could confidentiality say that their experience was MILES better than easy jet in about every single way imaginable).

Paul Johnson

Not according to skytrax they aren’t.

Farhan Nazar

Only use other’s judgement as a reference point. Not the final judgment.

Seeing is believing.

Dirk Munk

Didn’t I read somewhere that a standard 321 has 240 seats, a 321XL 220 seats, and a 321XLR 200 seats? I suppose that 40 seats less means quite a lot of space more for the remaining 200 seats.


Well gentlemen I didn’t know there were that many people in Malta wanting to go to NY.


Other Bryce: Maybe there are lots of people in NY wanting to go to Malta…