Airbus’ A320neo Family will offer longer flight distances in its latest version – the A321XLR (extra-long-range) – launched at the Paris Air Show with 31 orders from Air Lease Corp. (ALC) and Middle East Airlines.
ALC’s acquisition of 27 A321XLRs was detailed at a press conference during the aviation industry gathering’s opening day, with international journalists hearing Airbus’ confirmation of what had been widely anticipated for several months.
Steven F. Udvar-Házy, Executive Chairman of ALC’s board, explained, “We’ve had tremendous success with the A321LR long-range version; now with the A321XLR, we will open a whole new dimension of routes up to nine hours of flight time.” Deliveries of ALC’s A321XLRs are to begin during 2023.
The single-aisle A321XLR offers up to 4,700nm range, allowing airlines to operate the aircraft from U.S. East Coast airports to medium-size European cities. It shares commonality with the other A320neo family members for pilots, cabin crew, and mechanics – along with significant spares commonalty with the A321LR. The A321XLR is powered by the same engines and has more than 90% commonality with the A321neo.
Middle East Airlines placed a firm order for four A321XLRs, which the carrier will use to strengthen its network in Africa and Asia.
American Airlines will acquire 50 Airbus A321XLR aircraft. The purchase agreement includes the conversion of 30 of American’s existing A321neo slots to A321XLRs and incremental orders for an additional 20 A321XLRs.