Aircraft

Airbus's long-range A321XLR passenger jet makes maiden flight

Airbus's long-range A321XLR pa...
The Airbus A321XLR takes to the air for the first time
The Airbus A321XLR takes to the air for the first time
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The Airbus A321XLR interior
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The Airbus A321XLR interior
Cabin bins on the A321XLR
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Cabin bins on the A321XLR
The Airbus A321XLR takes to the air for the first time
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The Airbus A321XLR takes to the air for the first time
Artist's rendering of the Airbus A321XLR
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Artist's rendering of the Airbus A321XLR
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On June 15, Airbus' first A321XLR (Xtra Long Range) airliner completed its maiden flight over Hamburg-Finkenwerder Airport with test pilots Thierry Diez and GabrielDiaz de Villegas Giron at the controls for a four-hour shakedown systems test.

Ever since the introduction of the Jumbo Jets in the 1970s, long-haul air routes have been dominated by wide-body, twin-aisle jets that can carry hundreds of people between large hub airports. Today, a combination of advancing technology, a changing global market, and adjustments to a post-pandemic world has produced a growing demand for airliners that have the range of larger jets, but with a smaller capacity.

Scheduled to enter service in early 2024, the A321XLR is based on the A321neo and is the latest in the A320 family of narrow-body single-aisle aircraft. While sharing many features with its predecessor, the A321XLR has a newly designed rear-center tank and fuel system, plus a new center wing box to support the extra weight.

The result is an airliner that can carry 180 to 220 passengers on flights lasting up to 11 hours for a range of 4,700 nm ( 5,400 miles, 8,700 km). According to Airbus, it enjoys 30 percent better fuel efficiency per seat over previous-generation aircraft with reduced NOx emissions and noise.

Artist's rendering of the Airbus A321XLR
Artist's rendering of the Airbus A321XLR

About 500 orders have already been secured for the A321XLR and Airbus' biggest competitor, Boeing, has not indicated that it plans to build a rival single-aisle XLR of its own.

"This is a major milestone for the A320 Family and its customers worldwide," said Philippe Mhun, Airbus EVP Programmes and Services. "With the A321XLR coming into service, airlines will be able to offer long-haul comfort on a single aisle aircraft, thanks to its unique Airspace cabin. The A321XLR will open new routes with unbeatable economics and environmental performance."

Source: Airbus

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6 comments
6 comments
pete-y
Wonder how much commonality (apart from the name) across the A319/320 series. Suspect very little.
riczero-b
It'll have commonality with the 321s tho, the engines look like CFMs and the cockpit is usually kept similar to reduce training. It must have a different undercarriage to take the weight.
guzmanchinky
Does anyone else feel like the smaller the cabin the longer the flight? If I'm going 11+ hours I'd much rather be on a 747 than a 737...
gybognarjr
Please don't use the word "COMFORT" relating to airline travel on any of their planes, that has tourist class and business class seats. SOME COMFORT REMAINS IN FIRST CLASS TRAVEL ONLY AT ASTRONOMICAL PRICES!
Airlines are by far the worst businesses, they torture the tourist class passengers and hide the true cost of tickets. All of their employees and especially their executives should be carted around daily, for a few weeks, on 11 hour trips in fully occupied tourist class flights with no food or drinks, only pre-packaged ersatz edibles.
eMacPaul
I'm not sure why Boeing would build a single-aisle XLR competitor, the 787-8 seats 248 with a 7305 nmi range.
Baker Steve
Still at least 1,000 nm less than the old 747SP.