On May 21, 2021, Airbus announced it had started its first Airbus A321 Extra Long Range (XLR) aircraft structural production, marking a significant milestone in the Airbus A321XLR program.

In a statement, Airbus said it has started assembling its first Airbus A321XLR aircraft center and rear fuselages as well as Rear Centre Tank (RTC) in a major component assembly facility in Hamburg, Germany. 

The Rear Centre Tank (RTC) is a permanently installed high-capacity fuel tank that makes maximum volumetric use of the aircraft’s lower fuselage. It holds up to 13,100 liters, which is more fuel than in previous Airbus A321 family aircraft. 

“It's a major milestone for the A321XLR program. The teams can be proud of this achievement and the overall speed of industrialization. We are on track with our planning. The pilot line dedicated to the A321XLR is ready and waiting to operate the assembly phases for the first flight test aircraft, all the way through to the entry into service,” said Martin Schnoor, Head of A321 XLR Program Development Airframe Program.

After the structural assembly phase is developed, Airbus would start on the equipment assembly, which is planned to take place in autumn 2021. The Airbus A321XLR aircraft entry into the market is scheduled in 2023. 

The Airbus A321XLR aircraft, according to the European aircraft manufacturer, would provide air carriers with a range of up to 4,700 nm (8,704 km) and 30% lower fuel burn and CO2 emissions per seat compared with previous-generation Airbus A321 aircraft.

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