Mon. Jan 30th, 2023

Almost as soon as an aircraft manufacturer releases an aircraft, there is always one question. What will the next one be? With Boeing, it’s the much-awaited Boeing 777X, and with Airbus, it’s the A321 XLR. Airbus seems to be catering to airlines that don’t have enough demand on long-haul routes to operate entire wide-body aircraft but need to operate planes on them. They do this by modernizing their narrow-body fleet to fly longer distances, precisely what they are doing with the Airbus A321 XLR.

Read also: AIRBUS A321XLR – Gamechanger in the World of Narrow Bodies

Airbus A321XLR
(Image credit: Reuters)

What is the Airbus A321XLR?

The Airbus A321XLR is a narrow-bodied aircraft that can operate on long-haul distances. Airbus says the aircraft will have a range of up to 4,700 Nautical Miles. To put that into perspective, A transatlantic Journey from London to New York is around 3,500 nautical miles, meaning that the A321XLR should clear crossing the pond in a breeze. The aircraft should now be able to operate routes to destinations as far as India and most of Asia from the U.K., knocking its Boeing Competitor, the 737 MAX, out of the park. Airbus also says that it will be able to carry up to as many as 220 passengers, meaning that no extra size is added to the A321XLR compared to its other family members.

Why is the Airbus A321 XLR needed?

Airlines can guarantee that they can fill them up when they fly smaller planes to less popular destinations. However, if they fly larger planes to these destinations, it isn’t necessarily going to work. And this concept is what the Airbus A321 XLR works for. It works when you fly it on less popular routes which are further away. An example might be From New York to Birmingham (The U.K.’s second-largest city). This route wouldn’t have enough demand for you to send an A330 or a 787, yet the Airbus A321 XLR is suitable for the Job. There’s also a bonus that the 757, the plane which unintentionally started serving this purpose even though that wasn’t what it was designed for, is getting old and needs to come out of service soon.

Airbus A321XLR
(Image credit: FlightGlobal)

When will the Airbus A321 XLR come into service?

There have been mixed messages from Airbus and other sources about when the A321 XLR will come into service. The most common answer is that it will be certified between late 2023 and early 2024. This means that the aircraft will be entering commercial service in 2024. The aircraft is set to have its first intercontinental flight early this year, having to fly elsewhere for cold weather testing. Testing is everything, so the release date for the Airbus A321 XLR could be pushed back if anything doesn’t go to plan. So, for now, all it is for us to do is wait and hope all goes well.

Airbus A321XLR
(Image credit: Routes Online)

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By Sam Jakobi

I am a young Avgeek who has been interested in aviation since the age of around 3 or 4. I run a very small youtube channel in which I review flights and explain common things in the aviation industry.

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