Whilst I’ve been trapped in the show hall, Airbus has been busy, with the first A321XLR (the Extra Long Range variant of the Airbus A321neo aircraft) has taken to the sky, completing its first test flight.
The aircraft, MSN 11000, took off from Hamburg-Finkenwerder Airport at 11:05 hrs CEST for a test flight which lasted approximately four hours and 35 minutes. The aircraft’s crew consisted of experimental test pilots Thierry Diez and GabrielDiaz de Villegas Giron, as well as test engineers Frank Hohmeister, Philippe Pupin and Mehdi Zeddoun.
During the flight, the crew tested the aircraft’s flight controls, engines and main systems, including flight envelope protections, both at high and low speed.
In the infographic, Airbus cites the following city pairs that could be possible with the A321XLR:
- London – Miami
- London – Istanbul
- New York – Rome
- Sydney – Kuala Lumpur
Infographic – Airbus
If we take a look at a range graphic Airbus provided at its press event on Tuesday, there are many options that could operate out of Hamburg – a glimpse at the range the aircraft can fly – with the A321neo increasing range by 1,700Nm. This opens up the following destinations from Hamburg such as:
Range Map from Hamburg – Image, Airbus.
The A321XLR will offer a range of up 4,700 miles in a narrowbody aircraft – targeting either long and thin routes, as well as being compatible with the A321neo fleet that are in flight. It also uses 30% lower fuel consumption per seat compared to previous-generation aircraft, as well as reduced NOx emissions and noise.
Philippe Mhun, Airbus EVP Programmes and Services stated:
“This is a major milestone for the A320 Family and its customers worldwide. With the A321XLR coming into service, airlines will be able to offer long-haul comfort on a single aisle aircraft, thanks to its unique Airspace cabin. The A321XLR will open new routes with unbeatable economics and environmental performance.”
The Narrow Body leap
A lot of people and airlines have long-lamented the loss of the Boeing 757 – which the A321XLR is taking into in terms of role, allowing airlines to utilise the type for short and long missions with appropriately set of rated crew.
And airlines are lapping up the A321XLR – with over 500 orders so far from 20 customers, whilst the A320neo family from which it has been the type has derived from has accumulated over 8000 orders from over 130 customers.
For those who want to experience the new generation of narrow-body long haul, Entry into service is targeted for early 2024.
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