Aer Lingus and Iberia are the latest airlines to order the A321XLR. IAG ordered the aircraft as the next step for expansion. With the A321XLR, Iberia and Aer Lingus will be able to expand their route offerings on key transatlantic routes.
Airbus announced the order on June 18th at the Paris Air Show. IAG ordered 14 A321XLR aircraft. Eight will go to Iberia and six will go to Aer Lingus. This represents yet another order since Airbus launched the aircraft on Monday June 17th. This order makes sense for both Iberia and Aer Lingus. Overall, the order is in line with IAG’s plan for both airlines.
A321neo and IAG
Aer Lingus and Iberia will both operate A320neo family aircraft from this fall. Iberia already flies the A320neo. Meanwhile, Aer Lingus is set to enter their first A321LR into service this fall. For both airlines, the A321XLR is a natural addition.
Iberia and Aer Lingus are planning on using these aircraft on key transatlantic routes. Unlike British Airways, Iberia and Aer Lingus cannot fill a widebody on many routes. As a result, the Airbus A321XLR allows them to add new routes without creating overcapacity. In addition, the A321XLR can be used to add frequencies to existing routes that would not warrant a widebody.
Aer Lingus plans to configure their A321LRs with flatbed seats. As a result, it is expected that Aer Lingus will also install flatbeds on their A321XLRs. Most likely, it will be the same staggered configuration that Aer Lingus uses on their widebody aircraft.
It is extremely likely that Iberia will also follow suit with staggered flatbed seats. The transatlantic market is one of the most competitive markets, and business class travelers have come to expect flatbed seats from full-service carriers.
Airbus’s A321XLR can fly up to 4700nm. This is an impressive range that opens many new destinations up for both Iberia and Aer Lingus. With the A321XLR, both Iberia and Aer Lingus can open up new routes outside of the East Coast of North America.
Aer Lingus could open new routes to Dallas, Denver, Vancouver, Dubai, or even New Delhi.
Iberia can use the A321XLR to new points in Africa and Asia. In addition, Iberia can operate new routes to Central and South America.
IAG has backed the A321XLR for expansion at both Iberia and Aer Lingus. This is logical since both already fly A320 family aircraft and the introduction of the A321XLR likely will not be terribly cumbersome for either airline.
We’ll have to see what other new orders come about at the 2019 Paris Air Show! Do you think IAG made the right decision by selecting the A321XLR? Let us know in the comments!