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Airbus officially launches the A321XLR

Airbus officially launched today the A321XLR, which is the longest single-aisle aircraft of all time. The plane will be available from 2023and will have 15% greater range than the A321LR.

This marks the continuing evolution of the A321 family. The plane was very popular with airlines for regional flights. But they did not stop there:

  • Airbus has launched the A321neo (new engine option), which has extended range and is more fuel efficient
  • Next, Airbus introduced the A321LR (Long Range), which has an extended range of up to 4,600 miles.
  • Now, Airbus is launching the A321XLR (very long range), which is significantly expanded and can travel up to 5,400 km non-stop.

Airbus says the A321XLR consumes 30% less fuel per seat than competing planes of the previous generation (which I suppose refers to 757).

Now, if the Airbus A321XLR already looks familiar, it is that the aircraft manufacturer was not very discreet about the introduction of the aircraft. Although this is their official announcement, they have been discussing for months how they plan to introduce an even longer version of the A321.

This aircraft will make possible markets that would otherwise never have worked in the past. The A321XLR is a less expensive single-aisle aircraft that can be used for longer and less traveled routes, many of which would simply not be economical with larger planes.

Airbus says this will allow operators to open new global routes, such as India to Europe or China to Australia, as well as to build A321 capabilities across the Atlantic.

Airbus has focused on the design of the A321XLR so that it has much in common with the rest of the A320neo family. Where does the added range come from? The A321XLR:

  • Has a permanent rear center tank for more fuel; this contains more fuel than several optional additional central tanks, while taking up less space in the cargo hold, leaving more room for luggage and cargo
  • Has a modified landing gear for a maximum take-off weight increased by 101 tons
  • Features an optimized trailing edge flap configuration to maintain the same engine take-off and thrust performance as today's A321neo

Bottom line

The A321XLR is a fantastic new aircraft capable of serving as many markets as it previously was not practical, especially those between 4,600 and 5,400 miles.

So far, Airbus and Boeing have mostly competing products, although this is an area in which Boeing does not have a competitor yet. While the 737 MAX can compete with the A321neo, it does not have a version of the aircraft with this type of scope.

According to rumors, Boeing would eventually introduce the "797" (as we know now), who would be a competitor, but who knows how far it could be.

I can not wait to see which airlines are ordering this plane – I'm sure it will be a popular aircraft. There are rumors that American may be interested in the A321XLR, and also rumors that JetBlue could convert some of their existing orders for the A321LR to the A321XLR.

What do you do with A321XLR?

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