Revealed: The Longest Airbus A321neo Routes This Winter

The A321neo – including the LR – has 495 routes scheduled to operate this winter across the world, but that may change depending on the pandemic. Of these, some 27 are long-haul, defined as 3,000 miles or more. These involve seven airlines, led by TAP Air Portugal’s Lisbon to Belém.

Air Transat A321LR
Air Transat has nine long-haul A321LR routes this winter. Photo: Anna Zvereva via Flickr.

Long-haul A321neo routes this winter

Between October 31st and March 26th, the last day of the northern hemisphere winter, 27 A321neo routes are long-haul, based on analyzing schedules information obtained from OAG. This means that only 5% of all A321neo routes are long-haul. Most of these are by the A321LR, but not all, such as American’s Dallas to Anchorage (3,043 miles) and Aeroflot’s Moscow Sheremetyevo to Tenerife South (3,262 miles).

At 3,726 miles, TAP Air Portugal’s service from its Lisbon hub to Brazil’s Belém, a gateway to the mighty Amazon, will be the world’s longest route by the type. Although not fairly comparable, it is 104 miles longer than the longest non-stop 737 route this summer, Icelandair’s Keflavik to Seattle.

Lisbon-Belém replaces what was expected to have been the longest route earlier this year: Stockholm to Chicago, 4,272 miles apart, operated by SAS. The A330-300 and A340-300 will operate this winter. It’ll be interesting to see whether Icelandair does indeed order the A321 to replace its aging 757s, especially on routes to the US West Coast. If it does, there will be a reordering of the longest routes list.

TAP Air Portugal
TAP Air Portugal has the most long-haul A321neo routes. Photo: Simply Aviation via Flickr.

What are the long-haul routes?

Beginning in 2014, Lisbon-Belém initially used the A330-200 and operated triangularly: Lisbon-Manaus-Belem-Lisbon. It became non-stop in 2016, although it wasn’t for another two years that the A321LR entered the scene, OAG confirms.

This demonstrates the ability of an airline to right-size capacity to demand while significantly reducing trip cost versus a widebody. The downside is a higher unit cost, meaning higher fares are needed to break even. This shows the balance between different factors, but the A321LR absolutely could – in the right markets – help to boost performance.

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Note that another TAP route – Lisbon to Maceió, located between Recife and Salvador – was scheduled to be the longest route this winter. However, it won’t now resume until the first day of summer 2022, a timely reminder of how things can change.

AirlineFromToDistance (miles)
TAPBelémLisbon3,726
Air TransatFaroToronto3,693
SASBostonCopenhagen3,671
TAPLisbonRecife3,628
TAPLisbonWashington Dulles3,592
Air Transat and TAPLisbonToronto3,576
Air TransatLondon GatwickToronto3,576
Air TransatMalagaMontreal3,554
Air TransatPortoToronto3,515
TAPLisbonNatal3,496
TAPFortalezaLisbon3,478
JetBlueLondon GatwickNew York JFK3,470
JetBlueLondon HeathrowNew York JFK3,451
Air TransatMontrealParis CDG3,442
Air TransatManchesterToronto3,434
Aer LingusDublinWashington Dulles3,404
TAPLisbonNewark3,384
TAPLisbonNew York JFK3,366
Aer LingusManchesterNew York JFK3,341
Air TransatGlasgowToronto3,293
Aer LingusDublinToronto3,278
AeroflotMoscow Sheremetyevo Tenerife South3,262
Air Transat and TAPLisbonMontreal3,261
Aer LingusDublinNewark3,193
TAPBostonLisbon3,192
Aer LingusDublinNew York JFK3,179
American AirlinesAnchorageDallas Fort Worth3,043

Manchester to the US coming with Aer Lingus

Aer Lingus is one of seven airlines to operate long-haul A321neo routes this winter. It has five routes, with all but one from its Dublin hub. The sole exception is Manchester to New York JFK, due to launch on December 1st by Aer Lingus UK. This new carrier will also operate from Manchester to Orlando and Barbados, using the A330-300.

Aer Lingus A321neo
Aer Lingus’ longest narrowbody route will be Dublin to Washington. Photo: Anna Zvereva via Flickr.

Manchester to New York

New York JFK has historically been Manchester’s second-largest market to the USA after Orlando. In 2017, Manchester-JFK had five airlines and six to New York as a whole if Newark is included, a year in which this city-pair had over half a million seats.

In 2021, only Virgin Atlantic and Aer Lingus will operate, both with a once-daily service. While Virgin will use the A330, Aer Lingus will operate the 184-seat A321LR.

What are your thoughts about flying long-haul on narrowbodies? Let us know by commenting.

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