Last year, manufacturers had to slow down production at several of their sites amid the complications of the pandemic. Despite the setbacks, Airbus has shared that it is on course to have its highly-anticipated A321XLR ready to enter service in 2023.
Scaling it up
Earlier this spring, the European manufacturer shared that it is gearing up for large production increases. Interestingly, by the middle of the 2020s, it could be producing a many as 75 A320 family aircraft each month.
Following this, Airbus has shown that it is on the right track to meet these goals. The company’s subsidiary, STELIA Aerospace, delivered six fuselage sections to Saint-Nazaire on July 1st. Now, Airbus will have these assembled and fitted with system equipment and flight test instruments by Q3 2021.
STELIA is an important department, working on several critical projects across the aircraft, such as aerostructures and seats. It was formed in January 2015 following the merger of two Airbus units – Aerolia and SOGERMA.
Martin Schnoor, Head of A321XLR Programme Development Airframe Programme, shares that the delivery of this fuselage is a major milestone for the program. Overall, it gives confidence that Airbus is on track for an introduction of the jet in two years.
Sébastien Verger, A321XLR project management, Airbus Saint-Nazaire, shares the following in a statement:
“We were able to anticipate the structural and systems assembly phases of this first fuselage with our full length physical mockup allowing us to test in advance the A321XLR’s structural and systems modifications and to prepare the assembly phases.”
Paul Molitor, A321XLR development project manager for Airbus, adds the following about the production.
“We are working on a collaborative “plateau” with Manufacturing Engineering, Technical coordination, Logistics, Quality and dedicated operators. A dedicated Launch team is following this first aircraft at each step of production.”
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Excitement across the industry
Importantly, the jet will help airlines reach far distances while reducing emissions. Airbus highlights that it has a range of up to 4,700 NM (8,700 km) and 30% lower fuel burn and carbon emissions per seat when against previous generation planes.
The A321XLR opens up several opportunities in the market. For instance, Air Seychelles has noted that it allows the airline to fly nonstop to the likes of Europe and West Africa with lower risk than if a widebody was used. It’s not just national carriers looking at the type. Firms such as La Compagnie are evaluating the narrowbody for their operations.
Major airlines are already putting their faith in the A321XLR. Within the United States, American Airlines, United Airlines, Frontier, and JetBlue make up the biggest orders by nation for the aircraft.
Altogether, what are your thoughts about the Airbus A321XLR program? Are you looking forward to the introduction of the jet in 2023? Let us know what you think of the aircraft and its overall prospects in the comment section.