United Airlines ordered 50 Airbus A321XLR aircraft from Airbus just last month. The aircraft will allow the carrier to open narrow but long-haul routes, potentially offering unique connections to smaller cities. But where will these routes fly? Let us explore.
“In addition to strengthening our ability to fly more efficiently, the A321XLR’s range capabilities open potential new destinations to further develop our route network and provide customers with more options to travel the globe.” – United Press Release
The A321XLR will be also be used to fly to existing United destinations, but we will look at possible new routes that are currently not served by the airline.
We will be looking for cities that are small enough to justify only an A321XLR flight and within range of the aircraft (4700 nautical miles).
Starting from New York, the A321XLR opens up a range of possibilities.
Montevideo – Uruguay – 4618 nautical miles
The first in this list is a little unconventional but hear us out. United already flies to nearby Argentina so it has had the capacity to fly the capital of Uruguay for many years. But yet don’t.
Thus we can assume the market has never needed a wide-body aircraft. With the A321XLR, United will now be able to link New York to the capital of the nation Montevideo without having to use a widebody.
Marrakech – Morroco – 3171 nautical miles
Another easy route for United might be to Morocco. There are currently only non-stop flights to Casablanca (with Royal Air Maroc) but not to Marrakech or Fez. There is an opportunity to either be competitive or open up a new tourist route for United.
Zagreb – Croatia – 3739 nautical miles
Croatia has really exploded as a tourist destination in recent years, offering beaches, culture and a vibrant party scene. So much so that Chinese carriers are opening up direct flights between the two countries. United could get ahead of the curve and offer direct routes to Croatia before the competition.
Sapporo – Japan – 4457 nautical miles
A wild card choice might be to open a route from Los Angeles to the ski capital of Japan, Sapporo. The destination might offer a unique take at Japan for US tourists and offer a quick way for Japanese passengers to reach the West Coast without traveling through busy Tokyo.
Krakow – Poland – 3734 nautical miles
Shockingly, United doesn’t actually fly to Poland. Poland is one of the most populated countries in Europe next to Germany and France and easily could sustain a healthy A321XLR flight. Krakow is the cultural hub of the country (and a significant source of Jewish and Catholic heritage) and capital Warsaw also offers a good opportunity.
Overall there are many new routes that United can open up from their hub airports thanks to the A321XLR. We look forward to seeing what creative destinations United comes up with.
What do you think? Can you imagine any new routes opened up by the A321XLR?