In January 2018, Airbus was examining an A321LR variant featuring a higher maximum takeoff weight (MTOW). By November of the same year, Airbus had signaled that the A321XLR would possess an MTOW exceeding 100 tonnes (220,000 pounds) and an additional 700 nautical miles (1,300 kilometers or 810 miles) in range compared to the A321LR.
Airbus A321XLR Route Proving
Airbus announced that it will deploy its latest and most awaited aircraft on the planet, A321XLR, on a special tour. Subsequently, the international proving route campaign will last for 10 days and for around 100 hours.
With this campaign, Airbus wants to prove the capability of A321XLR to the world. It wants to market the aircraft and wants to bag more orders for this ultra-long-haul narrowbody airliner.
Airbus, on its official X account (Formerly Twitter), wrote on September 12,
“10 days, 100 hours, 1 aircraft non-stop! Tomorrow, the #A321XLR will take off on its international route-proving campaign ✈️ Will you join us? Watch this space for updates and more! #ScanMeIfYouCan”
Airbus asserts that the A321XLR represents a significant transformation, enabling airlines to explore fresh markets and establish novel connections between businesses and individuals.
Further, this aircraft opens up prospects for uninterrupted flights connecting major and smaller cities worldwide.
On June 15, 2022, the inaugural flight of the A321XLR was successfully completed. The aircraft has now embarked on its flight testing campaign, with the goal of obtaining Type Certification in 2023 and commencing commercial service in 2024.
Taking off from Hamburg-Finkenwerder Airport at 11:05 hrs CEST, the test flight lasted approximately 4 hours and 35 minutes.
Throughout the flight, the crew rigorously assessed the aircraft’s flight controls, engines, and primary systems, including flight envelope protections at high and low speeds.
Further, the aircraft is poised to undergo an extensive flight testing program, encompassing hundreds of flight hours in the coming weeks, as it advances through all necessary testing and documentation processes to achieve Type Certification by 2023. Subsequently, the planned date for Entry into Service is set for 2024.
The A321XLR marks the next stage in the development of the A320neo single-aisle Family, addressing the industry’s demand for extended range and greater payload capacity.
Further, it offers airlines increased value by enabling cost-effective services on longer routes compared to any other aircraft in its category.
The A321XLR boasts an unprecedented single-aisle aircraft range of up to 4,700 nautical miles (equivalent to 8,700 kilometers), with a remarkable 30% reduction in fuel consumption per seat when compared to previous-generation aircraft. Additionally, it contributes to lower NOx emissions and reduced noise levels.
As of the end of June 2022, the A320neo Family has garnered over 8,000 orders from more than 130 customers across the globe. With A321XLR orders comprising more than 500 units from over 20 customers.
New A321XLR Equipment Hangar in Hamburg
Hamburg’s First Mayor, Peter Tschentscher, and German Aerospace Coordinator, Anna Christmann, graced the unveiling ceremony.
This move forms a pivotal part of Airbus’ digitalization and modernization strategy for its industrial framework, aiming to fortify its capabilities in tandem with the A320 program’s rate ramp-up to 75 by 2026.
André Walter, Head of Airbus Commercial Aircraft Production in Germany, emphasized the pivotal role played by Airbus’ Hamburg site in A321XLR’s development and production.
The newly inaugurated advanced hangar signifies an expansion of the facility’s capacity to manufacture A321 fuselages, a vital aspect of supporting the ongoing ramp-up. Additionally, this investment underscores Hamburg’s significance within the Airbus framework.
Walter further highlighted that the structure’s design mirrors the latest production and sustainability standards.
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