The Airbus A321XLR has proven a remarkably popular choice with airlines since it was announced at this year’s Paris Air Show. Let’s take a look at some of the major airlines which have ordered the extra-long-range variant of the Airbus A321neo, and what they’re planning to use it for.
The Airbus A321XLR is the longest-range variant of the Airbus A321neo, with a range of 4,700 nautical miles. The other two aircraft in the family are the standard Airbus A321neo, with a range of 3,500 nautical miles, and the long-range A321LR, with a range of 4,100 nautical miles.
The proposition of an extra-long-range variant has turned a few heads among airlines who are looking to extend their regional offering that little bit further. The trade-off for the additional range of the LR and XLR variants is reduced seating capacity, with 240, 220 and 200 seats for the A321neo, A321LR and A321XLR respectively.
The largest single order for the Airbus A321XLR so far comes as no surprise. As the largest airline in the world by fleet size, American Airlines has a massive appetite for new aircraft.
American Airlines didn’t waste when any time when it came to placing its order for the A321XLR. Before the end of the Paris Air Show, American Airlines had signed for a total order of 50 Airbus A321XLRs.
Rather than ordering 50 Airbus A321XLRs off the bat, American Airlines actually converted 30 of their existing A321neo orders. In an explainer video released on the same day the order was placed, American Airlines President, Robert Isom, said:
“It costs a little more for these aircraft but this aircraft has much greater utility for us in the long run.”
While Indigo Partners isn’t an airline, it holds a controlling stake in a number of pretty big names in the industry, namely Wizz Air, Frontier Airlines and JetSmart.
Indigo Partners’ order of 50 Airbus A321XLRs matches the one placed by American Airlines, but the inventory will be split between the company’s three main airlines. Specifically, JetSmart will get 12, Frontier will get 18 and Wizz Air will get 20.
Just yesterday, Wizz Air announced that its shareholders had voted to confirm the order made back in June.
The next largest single order comes from Qantas, again being placed during the Paris Air Show. In total, Qantas ordered a total of 36 Airbus A321XLRs, as well as 28 Airbus A321LRs.
As Qantas does not have the most convenient location for launching medium- to long-range flights to other destinations, the long-range and medium-capacity of the Airbus A321XLR is the perfect trade-off for the airline.
A number of other airlines have placed smaller orders for the Airbus A321XLR. These include AirAsia with an order of 30 aircraft, JetBlue with an order of 13, as well as the launch customer, Middle East Airlines, with a total of four.
Discussing his airline’s A321XLR order with One Mile At A Time, JetBlue CEO, Robin Hayes, said:
“The incredible extended range of the A321XLR allows us to evaluate even more overseas destinations as we think about JetBlue’s expansion into European markets plagued by high premium fares and subpar service.”