Back in 2014 and 2015 the parent company of All Nippon Airways (ANA) – ANA Holdings – placed orders for a total of 37 A320 Family aircraft. The first A321neo was actually delivered to ANA in 2017. Now, news has emerged that the Japanese carrier will swap two of its existing A320neo orders for the A321LR.
The original order placed in 2014/2015 included seven A320neos, 26 A321neos and four A321ceos. However, according to FlightGlobal, ANA has placed its first orders for the A321neo Airbus Cabin Flex (ACF) version. The A321neo in Cabin Flex configuration is the base for a longer range variant known as the A321LR.
Information obtained by FlightGlobal indicates that the A321LR order has been placed by parent company ANA Holdings and will be delivered in 2022 and 2023. This was done through a swap of two existing A320neo orders.
Prior to this A321LR announcement, ANA had a further 11 A321neos on order. In the interest of retaining fleet commonality, the airline has opted for the original A321neo layout even though the ACF version was available in July of 2018.
What is Airbus Cabin Flex?
Compared to the ‘original’ A321 cabin, the most visible modifications for the (Airbus Cabin Flex) ACF variant include the following:
- A new rear section
- A modified passenger door configuration, where the door located forward of the wing is removed
- New overwing emergency exits in the center section
While a normal A321ceo would be able to accommodate a maximum of 220 passengers, the A321LR with ACF would carry as many as 240 passengers. However, this long-range variant would only be able to fly routes of up to 4,000 nm with only 206 passengers according to Airbus’ website.
“The A321LR allows airlines to tap into new long-haul markets that were not previously accessible with current single-aisle aircraft.” – Airbus
Could the aircraft be destined for Peach?
ANA Holdings is not only the parent company for ANA, but it’s also the parent company of Japanese budget airline Peach. In fact, it was almost exactly one year ago that ANA Holdings announced it would be ordering 18 A320neos for the low-cost carrier.
Whether or not these aircraft are intended for Peach, ANA Holdings as the parent company would certainly have the power to make the switch between airlines if the demand was justifiable.
With the ability to fly as far as 4,000 nautical miles, the A321LR would reach all of Southeast Asia, all of India, and much of Central Asia. Unfortunately, it will be at least another two years before we see these aircraft take to the skies with ANA.
As most ANA flights would depart from Tokyo, where do you think you would like to see these long-range variants fly to?
We reached out to ANA for comment but have not received a response at the time of publishing this article.