‘It’s Flight Day’: The long-haul A321XLR takes off for the first time on Airbus in Hamburg. The aircraft is actually designed for short and medium range routes. But the plane goes much further than that.
The Airbus A321XLR took off on its maiden flight in Hamburg on Wednesday. Airbus’ latest model is already a bestseller: United Airlines already has route plans. American Airlines, Air Canada, JetBlue Airlines, Indigo, Iberia and Wizz Air are also planning about 500 A321XLRs in total.
The prototype flight should take about three to four hours. Although the aircraft is already designed for short to medium-range routes, non-stop flights from Hamburg to the Caribbean are possible. The letters XLR in the name of the aircraft also indicate this. It means “a very long distance”.
According to “Aero”, the aviation news portal, the tank contains approximately 13,000 liters of fuel, about 20 percent more than the A321LR, which according to Airbus was the most powerful narrow-body aircraft in the world to date. The new Airbus aircraft will accommodate 200 passengers.
Airbus A321XLR: Delivering the first machines in 2024
The competition is also satisfied with the model. “I love everything about it,” Aero quotes Boeing CEO Dave Calhoun as saying. He actually revealed himself as a fan of the A321XLR last year. “It’s really a good plane,” Calhoun said. Boeing itself does not offer a model of similar capacity and range.
Airbus president Guillaume Faury had last promised the A321XLR’s maiden flight by mid-year. But he postponed the delivery of the first machine from the end of 2023 to the beginning of 2024 due to difficulties in approval. According to insiders, it is a matter of fire protection between the additional tank and the cabin. The European aviation authority, Easa, had previously criticized this point. Airbus faces the challenge of not increasing the weight of the aircraft while improving fire protection. Higher weight can reduce range.
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