LONDON – American Airlines took delivery of its first Airbus A321neo aircraft on February 1. It is the first of 100 of the type ordered by the U.S. carrier looking to replace its aging Boeing 757-200s.
The aircraft departed Airbus’ facility in Hamburg, Germany, arriving in Pittsburg about eight and a half hours later, with ferry tanks equipped.
The plane is now at the American Airline Maintenance facility in Pittsburgh where it will spend a couple of weeks undergoing extensive acceptance checks which must be conducted every time an airline adds a new aircraft type to its fleet.
During its time at the maintenance facility the plane will be fitted out with ViaSat Satellite Wi-Fi and will have interior and exterior placards added as the maintenance team customizes the aircraft for American Airlines.
The plane will then spend a few weeks visiting other American Airlines bases before entering service in April.
The A3210neo is scheduled to begin flying customers on April 2 between Phoenix Sky Harbour International Airport (PHX) in Arizona and Orlanda International Airport (MCO) in Florida.
When the airline takes more deliveries of further A321neos, the plane will be deployed on new routes, which will include Phoenix to Anchorage, as well as Phoenix to Los Angeles and Hawaii later this year.
The Airline said that the A321 is already a very versatile aircraft but the A321neo add an additional 400 nautical miles in range, thanks to its improved fuel burn from the new engines allow the airline to reach new destinations and continue to expand its services.
All of the A3210neo aircraft will be equipped with CFM LEAP-1A engines and can seat up to 196 customers.
In addition to the fast onboard Wi-Fi, each seat will include power ports and a free wireless streaming service, which will allow each customer to enjoy free live Television, movies, and TV shows.
American Airlines is also taking the “Cabin Flex,” or “NX,” option of the A321neo, which has a new door configuration.
In addition to the features in the cabin, American Airlines is the launch customer for the new Airbus XL overhead storage which has been redesigned to increase the capacity for carry on bags.
The A321neo is going to be the first plane in the carrier’s fleet to offer these new overhead bins. However, American Airlines will begin to retrofit their existing A321s with the same new overhead bins later this year.
The delivery of this new aircraft marks the start of a new era for American airlines as they continue to take delivery of the 100 Boeing 737 MAX aircraft and 100 Airbus A321neo aircraft ordered in 2011.
Once they have been delivered this will put American Airlines’ fleet as the youngest among U.S. network carriers.