How The Airbus A321XLR Could Change JetSMART

The Chilean ultra-low-cost carrier JetSMART is set to receive 14 Airbus A321XLR aircraft. It will become the first operator of the model in the Latin American region. So how will this aircraft change JetSMART? Let’s find out.

How The Airbus A321XLR Could Change JetSMART
JetSMART will receive 14 Airbus A321XLRs in the future. Photo: Airbus.

The extra-long range for extra-long flights

JetSMART and Airbus first signed a deal for the A321XLR in 2019. Indigo Partners, the US private equity fund with investments in four ultra-low-cost carriers, signed a deal to acquire 50 Airbus A321XLR jetliners. Of this total, twenty were allocated to Wizz Air, 18 to Frontier, and 12 to JetSMART.

Two years later, during the 2021’s Dubai Airshow, Indigo Partners announced a massive deal for 255 A321 planes, including two more XLRs for JetSMART.

Estuardo Ortiz, JetSMART CEO, said last month,

“This deal shows our compromise to keep growing and position ourselves as the low-cost leading carrier in South America. The deal with Airbus brings us closer to our goal of having 100 aircraft by 2027.”

The A321XLR will be a very versatile aircraft. The jet will allow JetSMART to reach markets such as Mexico, the US, and the Caribbean. The airline will likely launch a Santiago-Miami direct route, something not currently possible with narrowbody aircraft. Miami is also JetSMART’s gateway to the United States following its partnership with American Airlines.

How The Airbus A321XLR Could Change JetSMART
JetSMART first signed a deal for the aircraft in 2019. Photo: Airbus.

The benefits of the XLR

The A321XLR is the next step of the A320neo family, said Airbus in a statement. The plane has a range of up to 4,700 nautical miles (8,700 kilometers), with 30% lower fuel consumption per seat.

JetSMART can easily get to cities like Mexico, Cancun, Havana, Miami, Orlando, and Punta Cana from Santiago and Buenos Aires with that type of range. From Lima (JetSMART is eyeing a branch in Peru), it can go as far as Toronto, New York, and Chicago.

Airbus plans the A321XLR will enter the commercial market in 2023. Earlier this year, Airbus started the structural assembly of the first aircraft. Test flights will begin in 2022.

A Sky Airline Airbus 320 NEO landing at Santiago airport
Sky also has an order for ten A321XLRs. Photo: Getty Images.

JetSMART is set to obtain incredible benefits from the XLR and its American Airlines alliance. The low-cost carrier will be able to offer direct flights to Miami and connect from there with American Airlines.

Stay informed: Sign up for our daily and weekly aviation news digests.

Sky is also in the XLR market

There’s another customer of the XLR in Latin America. Chile’s other low-cost carrier, Sky Airline, has also signed a deal for the plane.

In 2019, Sky announced a Purchase Agreement with Airbus for ten A321XLRs. Holger Paulmann, the carrier’s CEO, said this new plane would allow Sky to expand its offer of international and wide-ranging routes. Meanwhile, Arturo Barreira, president of Airbus Latin America, said,

“We are delighted that SKY has selected the A321XLR to further expand its fleet of all Airbus aircraft. The A321XLR will allow SKY to offer its customers new destinations, such as direct flights from Santiago in Chile to Miami in the U.S.”

So far, there are no more orders for the type in Latin America. Nonetheless, the XLR could definitely be an option for airlines looking to connect South and North America. Even LATAM Airlines Group has signaled some interest in the XLR, as reported by local media outlet Aero-naves.

Worldwide, the A321XLR has gained 446 orders from 20 customers, according to ch-aviation’s database. United Airlines is the largest customer to date, ordering 120 units.

In total, Airbus also has received orders from Aer Lingus, Air Arabia, Air Lease Corporation, AirAsia X, American Airlines, Cebu Pacific Air, flynas, Frontier Airlines, GECAS, Iberia, IndiGo, JetBlue, MEA, Qantas, Saudia, VietJetAir, and Wizz Air.

Are you excited to see the A321XLR in Chile? Let us know in the comments below.