The first planned operator of the long-range variant of the Airbus A321neo – the A321LR has been announced today – and Air Transat of Canada will be the North American launch customer.
Air Transat Airbus A321LR – Rendering, Airbus
The airline will taking delivery of 10 A321LR aircraft. These aircraft will be leased through AerCap (as opposed to the airline buying them). The A321LR – as you can probably guess is an evolution of the A321neo. The main difference between the A321neo and the A321LR is that the LR has a range of up to 4000 based on a two class cabin, and with each passenger carrying three bags.
The aircraft is due to commence entry into service from 2019.
John Leahy, Airbus Chief Operating Officer-Customers is happy with the lease, stating
“This is an ideal aircraft for the North American market, and particularly for a carrier like Air Transat
It gives operators a highly efficient and affordable modern option for their transatlantic routes, and we look forward to other North American carriers following Air Transat’s example.”
For Airbus, it’s a breakthrough into North America for its A321LR model. And its important as airlines hunt around for Middle-of-the-market replacement aircraft. With Boeing taking its time over its future MotM plane (and instead, offering yet another stretch of the 737 that has increased capacity, rather than the range).
With airlines looking at the 757 fleets (which have done sterling work since moving into the long and thin transatlantic space, and opening up direct routes with it), these planes aren’t getting younger sadly.
So until Boeing either get a version of the 737MAX that can compete on range and capacity – or get its vaunted MotM plane built and in production – Airbus seem to have an answer.
How much of an answer will come when this version of the A321neo enters production and tests are completed.
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