DALLAS – This morning, Airbus unveiled its newly-painted A321XLR (extra long range) aircraft, the latest edition of the A320neo family.
The aircraft is ready to be handed over to the flight-test teams now that the application of the external paint scheme, “the icing on the cake,” has been completed. They will activate and run through a series of ground tests on all the systems, including flight controls, engines, and the APU.
A Colorful Milestone
The aircraft’s paint shop rollout marks a significant milestone in the Airbus A321XLR program. The company plans to perform the XLR’s first flight this year and commence mass production in 2023.
Airbus began structural construction of its first Airbus A321XLR in May 2021 and concluded airframe assembly in December 2021 at the company’s final assembly facility in Hamburg, Germany.
The Airbus A321XLR
The Airbus A321XLR is a version of the A321LR with a greater range. According to the company, the new aircraft will have a range of 4,700 nautical miles (about 8,700 kilometers), compared to the A321LR’s range of 4,000 nautical miles (7,400 kilometers). This will make it Airbus’ longest-range single-aisle airliner.
The airplane is designed to carry a maximum of 244 passengers and is powered by CFM LEAP engines.
The type was introduced in 2019 and has already had over 450 orders in its first year. When finished, it will be the longest-range narrow-body aircraft in the world, allowing carriers to utilize it on transcontinental flights. This had previously exclusively been designated for wide-body aircraft.
Latest A312XLR Order
On March 23, Air Canada (AC) announced the purchase of 26 A321XLR aircraft to cover all North American and select transatlantic destinations. The first aircraft will be delivered in the first quarter of 2024, with the last arriving in the first quarter of 2027, according to AC.
Fifteen of the aircraft will be leased from Air Lease Corporation, five will be leased from AerCap, and six will be purchased from Airbus S.A.S. under a purchase agreement that includes purchase options for a further 14 aircraft between 2027 and 2030.
Featured image: A321XLR in FAL. Photo: Airbus