MIAMI — British Airways took delivery of the first of ten brand-new Airbus A321neos. The plane, an A321-251NX bearing the registration G-NEOR (MSN 8526) was ferried from Hamburg (HAM) to the airline’s base in London-Heathrow (LHR).
British Airways expects to receive all of its A321neos on order by the end of 2019.
The brand-new planes come with a denser cabin configuration than the A321ceos that currently operate in its fleet.
In a surprising move, the British legacy carrier has chosen the same seating configuration and density that low-cost carrier easyJet has chosen on the A321neo.
The plane’s total capacity is at 235 seats laid out in the typical 3-3 configuration.
Additionally, the airline will be removing the middle seat table in Club Europe (Business Class) for its inter Europe flights—a feature that was seen as added comfort for premium-paying passengers.
An airline’s spokesman said that “While the bridge has been removed from the middle seat in Club Europe on the new aircraft, the middle seat itself will remain unoccupied as we know this is incredibly important to our customers.”
British Airways has also selected the CFM LEAP 1A engines to power its A321neo fleet, a shift from the Pratt & Whitney IAE Engines, which it has on the Airbus A320ceo family aircraft.
Boeing 767-300er Heading Out
The new A321neo delivery coincides with the retirement of British Airways’ remaining pair of active Boeing 767-300ERs, which were an iconic part of its fleet for nearly 30 years. The airline operated up to 28 767s.
British Airways was also the only major airline to select the Rolls-Royce RB211 engines to power its 767 fleet.
Coincidentally, the current seating count on the A321neo is slightly lower than that available on the 767 fleet. The narrowbody comes with 235 seats, whereas the 767 is being retired with 265 seats in a 2-3-2 configuration.
During 1993 and 1996, British Airways also leased three US Air Boeing 767-200ERs to assist with London-Gatwick operations.
The last Boeing 767-300(ER) flight will operate on a round trip London-Heathrow to Larnaca, in Cyprus.
The following day, the remaining two Boeing 767s (G-BZHA, and G-BZHB) will be ferried to St Athan for storage and possibly scrapping.
British Airways has already flown five Boeing 767s there during 2018, (including G-BNWA G-BNWB), which were the oldest aircraft in the airline’s fleet, operating for 29 continuous years.
With the arrival of the new A321neos and the departure of the oldest planes in British Airways’ fleet, the overall age of the airline’s planes will drop considerably.