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The Airbus A321XLR, the Xtra-long-range version of the single-aisle A320neo Family aircraft, is enjoying a keen interest among the airlines. Following the long-awaited launch during Paris Air Show 2019, this aircraft has already managed to secure hundreds of orders.
During the second half of 2019, 22 operators and two aircraft leasing companies ordered, committed or converted their existing orders to over 450 aircraft of the newest type. You may wonder what features make this plane stand out from the rest.
According to the European planemaker, it is the single-aisle range, payload and fuel efficiency coming together with widebody-type comfort – the full package that allows the airline to derive substantial benefits.
The aircraft is scheduled to enter final assembly line in 2021, while first deliveries are about to begin in 2023.
How Is It Different from Its Predecessors?
Actually, the A321XLR is a derivative from the Airbus A321LR, where LR stands for “long range”. The LR planes are already being delivered. But Airbus is not ready to stop.
With a new program, Airbus targets to fill in the gap between ordinary single-aisle planes and small widebodies, meaning that the A321XLR will become a good match for the operators looking for a widebody range with a single-aisle efficiency.
The A321LR is capable of flying 15% further than a simple A321neo. Whereas the A321XLR could fly 15% further than the A321LR.
The Airbus A321XLR can fly up to 4,700 nm or 8,700 km carrying 180-220 passengers in a typical two-class cabin configuration connecting, for example, India with Europe or China with Australia.
Better range will be achieved by equipping the A321XLR with a permanent rear centre tank with a possibility to incorporate an additional centre fuel tan, instead of two added rear fuel tanks in the A321LR. A new Rear Centre Tank which will hold more fuel than the several optional additional centre tanks which are used on previous variants.
Also, the newcomer will have a maximum take-off weight of 101 t compared with the current 97 t long-range A321LR variant.
“Other changes include strengthening in the fuselage and main landing gear, the incorporation of a modified inboard wing flap for improved low-speed performance, along with larger capacities for the aircraft’s water and waste tanks”, the airframer provides on its website.
Which Airlines Has Chosen to Fly Xtra?
As for now, Airbus says that it has over 450 orders/commitments/conversions for its newest aircraft program, launched in summer 2019. The first major inflow of orders, commitments and conversions made Airbus satisfied already during the Paris Air Show.
Right upon the announcement and in the following six months Airbus has grabbed the attention of a great number of companies.
These are the major customers for the A321XLR aircraft as for now. Also, among the airlines that ordered less than 10 planes are: Iberia, Aer Lingus, Czech Airlines and Middle East Airlines, which is the launch customer for the A321XLR.
Moreover, Airbus has revealed earlier that there are bookings for the type from IndiGo and some operators from Africa, however, exact numbers have not been specified yet.