After the initial launch customer of A321LR went bankrupt, Airbus did not have to look long for another one. On November 14, the French manufacturer delivered the first aircraft to ARKIA Israeli Airlines, thus opening a new chapter for what it claims to be world’s longest range single-aisle commercial aircraft.

On November 14, 2018, ARKIA Israeli Airlines took delivery of its first A321LR and became the launch customer of the model. The Tel Aviv based airline has inherited “the honour” after initial launch operator - Primera Air - went bankrupt in October 2018.  

Budget airline Primera Air announced the suspension of its operations on October 2, 2018. Founded in 2003 as a charter airline, Primera Air was operating transatlantic flights since 2014, using a fleet of eight Airbus A321neos (and two Boeing 737-700s for European flights). In the fourth quarter of 2018, it was expected to receive the first A321LRs, obtained via AerCap leasing company.

Exactly a year after the collapse of UK's Monarch Airlines, another European carrier declared bankruptcy. Budget airline Primera Air announced the suspension of its operations on October 2, 2018. 

What is the A321LR ?

The A321LR - LR standing for Long Range - is the latest Airbus A321 Family aircraft, famous for having the longest range among single aisle aircraft. Equipped with a third auxiliary center fuel tank, the aircraft is capable to fly non stop up to 4,000nm (7,400km).  The aircraft can carry up to 240 passengers. Its maximum take off weight is 97 tons - an increase from 93.5 tons of A321 neos.

In ARKIA’s case, the aircraft is powered by CFM International LEAP-1A engines and configured in 220-seats, single class layout.

The A321LR performed maiden flight in January 2018, followed by first  transcontinental flight in February 2018 and obtaining EASA, FAA Certification in October 2018.

The long range that the aircraft is capable of flying, will airlines to open new routes (i.e. transatlantic flights), previously not accessible with single-aisle aircraft, and to tap into new long range markets, Airbus claims. The closest A321LR rival  - the Boeing 737 MAX 7 - can fly 3,850 nm. However, the new Airbus model is seen as a replacement of older Boeing models - mainly 757s, as well as some 767s. Boeing has ceased 757 production in 2004, rolling the last aircraft off production line in 2006.

For further notes on A321LR role in Airbus-Boeing relationship, please see the article below:  

Airbus’ first A321LR (Long Range) made its maiden flight on January 31, 2018.