Coverage by Chris Sloan

PARIS – Australian carrier Qantas as announced today that it will be backing Airbus with an agreement for 36 of the newly launched A321XLR.

The deal is for a conversation order of 26 existing A320neo Family orders and a new firm order of 10 additional A321XLRs.

This new aircraft will allow the Qantas group, which included low-cost carrier Jetstar to improve its network connectivity from its hubs across Australia with new and better point-to-point markets in, Asia and the South Pacific.

This order announcement by Qantas now sees the total number of orders for the A321XLR rise to 109 in three days and with more airline expected to order this aircraft, it is clear to see that Airbus has made a plane that the market it is looking for.

Qantas had been looking at the Boeing NMA over this aircraft; however, there has been no announcement from Boeing in regards to the planed name and production time of this new aircraft.

The new NMA (New Mid Range Aircraft) was expected to be announced by Boeing at the Airshow as the U.S. manufacturer looks to build a replacement Jet for the 757 and 767.

The manufacturer says that the NMA aircraft will sit between the 757 and 767 in seating capacity, but with no announcements made, it has been left for people to speculate that the delay has come over the companies recent woes and issues in regards to their MAX aircraft which were grounded back in March.

Without an announcement from Boeing regarding the NMA aircraft, we will likely see more airlines continue to move towards the A321XLR as a replacement for the 757.

With the A330-800neo being the closest aircraft in range and capacity terms to the 767 that Airbus has to offer, it will be interesting to see how airlines around the world position themselves as we move closer to the retirement of these ageing aircraft.