Qantas To Operate Airbus A321XLR From 2024

With this update taken into consideration, the Qantas Group A320 Family order is currently at the following levels:

  • 28 x A321 LRs,
  • 36 x A321 XLRs,
  • and 45 x A320neos

The Qantas news release also mentions that there continues to be flexibility around timing and structure in negotiation with Airbus.

The A321XLR

The A321XLR was officially launched earlier this week at the Paris Air Show. Already, MEA (Middle East Airlines), as well as IAG’s Aer Lingus and Iberia have already made announcements regarding this jet. The aircraft is an improvement on the already fuel efficient and long range narrowbody A321neo.

According to Airbus, the A321XLR’s new “Airspace cabin” will be an improvement to the travel experience. The new jet will offer seats in all classes with “the same high-comfort as on long-haul widebody aircraft”.

Qantas To Operate Airbus A321XLR From 2024
The A321XLR order is an upgrade of an existing order of A321neo aircraft. Photo: Pedro Aragão

Starting from 2023, the aircraft will deliver an unprecedented Xtra Long Range of up to 4,700nm – 15% more than the A321LR and with the same unbeatable fuel efficiency.

Possible routes

The A321XLR opens up new possibilities for the airline. Lower demand and lower capacity routes are now possible where they did not exist before. Qantas CEO Alan Joyce commented on the A321XLR’s range saying,

“It can fly routes like Cairns-Tokyo or Melbourne-Singapore, which existing narrow-bodies can’t, and that changes the economics of lots of potential routes into Asia to make them not just physically possible but financially attractive,”

We’ve already had a discussion about the A321XLR’s possible routes in a previous article. With Qantas, the Sydney to Tokyo route would work if the airline group wishes to increase frequency with smaller jets. However, as these two cities are massive airports with frequent travelers, it is a route much more suited to the larger aircraft in the Qantas fleet.

Qantas To Operate Airbus A321XLR From 2024
The Airbus A321’s range is 4,700 nautical miles. Photo: Airbus

However, the A321XLR would be well-suited to serving smaller Australian cities and connecting them to international destinations. Here are some other possibilities for the A321XLR’s lengthy range:

  • Perth to Tokyo, Seoul, or Delhi
  • Melbourne to Colombo or Shanghai
  • Sydney to Chiang Mai

In fact, this order has the potential to open up many new Jetstar routes as the low-cost carrier is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Qantas. According to Mirage News, Alan Joyce mentioned this fact by saying:

“We’ll take a decision closer to the time about which parts of the Group will use these aircraft, but there is plenty of potential across Qantas and Jetstar.”

Qantas To Operate Airbus A321XLR From 2024
The range of the new Airbus A321XLR. Photo: Airbus

Shaping the Asia-Pacific region

We are excited to see how this new jet will shape Qantas as well as its subsidiary Jetstar. Furthermore, if new and exciting routes do come out of this order, it will be interesting to see how tourism and business in the Asia-Pacific region develops as a result.

What routes would you like to see this plane fly to/from Australia? Let us know by leaving a comment!