Airbus flies the A321XLR for the first time, a new long-range aircraft that promises to change commercial aviation

Airbus has announced that the A321XLR has completed its first flight. It took off on June 15 from Hamburg Finkenwerder airport and remained in the air for approximately four hours, during which time the crew, made up of test pilots and flight engineers, tested all the aircraft’s systems and controls.

The arrival of the Airbus A321XLR is further proof that commercial aviation is changing. While long-haul air routes have long been dominated by wide-body jumbo jets, that is, planes with enough space to accommodate multiple rows of passengers, they are no longer as attractive to airlines.

Now we want small and long-range planes

One of the victims of the new dynamics of this business has been the Airbus A380 itself, the colossus of the skies that sought to decongest airports by connecting several destinations with flights with more than 500 passengers on board. Today’s world, however, is inclined to smaller, modern and less polluting aircraft.

In response to this trend, Airbus has developed the A321XLR, which is based on the A321neo. It is a narrow-body, single-aisle aircraft that can offer a range similar to that of larger aircraft, but carrying fewer passengers, which would translate into lower costs, even on transatlantic flights.

What features does the new A321XLR have? As explained by the manufacturerthe aircraft can carry between 180 and 220 passengers on flights that can last around 11 hours. This translates into a range of 8,700 kilometres, “with fuel consumption per seat 30% lower than that of previous generation aircraft”.

The additional range of the A321XLR is made possible by multiple fuel tanks. A new tank integrated into the fuselage, precisely on the floor of the cabin, can hold up to 12,900 litres, allowing a total capacity of 40,000 litres.

A321xlr First Flight Air To Air

Airbus also ensures that the A321XLR will provide airlines with significant economic advantages. A trip on this new type of aircraft could cost up to 45% less than on a wide-body plane.


Thus, the long-range capacity will allow connecting destinations such as New York-Rome, London-Vancouver, Delhi-London and Sydney-Kuala Lumpur. But it is also hoped that airlines will now be able to explore new routes, perhaps making trips to small towns now profitable.

The European manufacturer has received around 500 orders for the A321XLR, although the first deliveries could be delayed until 2024, a year later than planned. According to Reuters this is because Airbus will need to make some modifications to the structure of the new fuel tank to meet the safety requirements of regulators.

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