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Boeing raises concerns over Airbus’s newest narrow-body design, the A321XLR, responding to a consultation document regarding Special conditions proposed by EASA for the type.
Airbus A321XLR is expected to be a gamechanger in aviation. Due to its rear central fuel tank (RCT), positioned beneath passengers at the back of the aircraft, it can fly on very long routes. However, Boeing believes the architecture of the fuel tank “presents many potential hazards.”
Two of the three comments on the consultation document have come from Mildred Troegeler, Director of Global Regulatory Strategy at the Boeing Company.
“Fuel tanks integral to the airframe structure inherently provide less redundancy than structurally separate fuel tanks. Such integral fuel tanks located within the fuselage volume can foreseeably result in more hazardous outcomes when exposed to threats such as an external pool-fed fire.”
“The inclusion of an auxiliary fuel tank integral to the fuselage presents many potential hazards, particularly the protection against structural disruption due to an otherwise survivable off-runway or landing gear failure event,” she added.
Responding to her concerns in regards to crashworthiness, EASA claimed: “The RCT design is being thoroughly reviewed with regards structural crashworthiness, taking into consideration the level of safety provided by the FAA AC25-8. Appropriate means of compliance will be defined.”