Airbus unveils extralong-range narrowbody jet

Airbus has unveiled the longest-range variant yet of its
A321 narrowbody.

Airbus said the A321XLR (extralong-range) will have a
maximum range of 4,700 nautical miles, 15% more than the A321LR, which entered
service last year. 

“With this added range, airlines will be able to
operate a lower-cost single-aisle aircraft on longer and less heavily traveled
routes — many of which can now only be served by larger and less efficient
wide-body aircraft,” Airbus said. Examples of routes that the A321XLR
could handle include Miami to London, New York to Rome, and Houston to Buenos
Aires, according to the company. 

Airbus timed the unveiling with the kickoff of the Paris Air
Show on Monday. The aircraft manufacturer also announced that Los Angeles-based
Air Lease Corporation has ordered 27 XLRs. Airbus expects deliveries of the
aircraft to begin in 2023.

The A321XLR will carry 180 to 220 passengers in typical
two-class configuration. Fuel burn, the company said, will be 30% less per seat
than the A321neo. The resulting improved flight economics will couple with the
XLRs added range to make longer-range single-aisle flights more viable for

Airbus said that compared with the A321LR, the XLR has a
redesigned rear fuel tank with more volume as well as modified landing gear for
increased maximum take-off weight. 

For the past few years, Boeing has been weighing the
introduction of a new midsize airplane that would replace its 757 and 767 line
and compete in a similar space as the A321LR. But with Monday’s announcement,
Airbus has beat its competitor to the punch. 

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