Commercial

Airbus Launches New Extra-Long-Range A321neo Variant

Airbus A321XLR. Photo: Airbus

Airbus has launched a new long-range single-aisle aircraft, the A321XLR.

An evolution of the A321neo, the new XLR has a range of 4,700 nautical miles, greater than the distance from New York to Moscow. It represents a 15-plus percent increase over the 4,000-nautical-mile range of the A321LR, itself a 15 percent range increase over the base A321neo.

The new jet is designed to maximize commonality with the rest of the A321 family, according to the manufacturer, introducing only changes necessary to achieve the longer range. Among those changes are a new permanent rear center tank to hold more fuel, modified landing gear to improve maximum takeoff weight to 111 tons and an optimized wing trailing-edge flap configuration to preserve the same takeoff performance and engine thrust requirements as the A321neo.

The XLR is designed to hold 180-220 passengers across two seating classes, like the rest of the A321neo family, and the Airbus is aiming it at such routes as India to Europe and China to Australia, which are currently served by less-efficient aircraft.

The launch customer for the A321XLR will be Lebanon's Middle East Airlines, which has ordered four of the forthcoming jet, in addition to 11 A321neos. Airbus has also announced a signed letter of intent with Los Angeles-based Air Lease Corporation for 27 XLRs and 50 A220-300s as well as an incremental order for 23 A321neos.

Airbus will start delivering the A321XLR in 2023.

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