17 June 2019
As has been long rumoured, Airbus has formally launched their latest addition to their popular A320 series at the Paris Airshow on it’s opening day. The new A321XLR will be based on the current A321neo, however the Xtra Long Range variant will be able to fly up to 4700nm in a two class layout.
The new aircraft will achieve this extended range by featuring a permanent rear fuel tank, along with an optional centre tank. Of more interest to the public will be the Airspace cabin, which is also found on the companies A330neo and A350 widebody aircraft. Also featuring are larger overhead bins.
With the extended range, the new A321XLR will easily be able to fly transatlantic, on even some of the longer sectors such as London to Florida and Chicago. Heading in the other direction, London to the Middle East should easily be possible and the new aircraft could potentially push on to Northern India.
Launch customers are yet to be announced, however it will be interesting to see what the US based carriers do. A lot of them currently use the ageing Boeing 757 on long, thin routes across the Atlantic and the A321XLR will more or less provide a modern and fuel efficient replacement for these. There will also be a great deal of commonality with the current A320 fleet of which all of the US big three operate.
Initial deliveries are expected in 2023.