A321XLR test aircraft goes on a 10-day world tour 


Airbus continues apace with the certification process of the A321XLR.  

The longest-range version of the popular A321 narrow-body airliner had its first flight in June 2022 and has since been performing its flight test program, including the customary cold weather testing deployment to Northern Canada

Next in the A321XLR program is what Airbus has labelled as the ‘route-proving’ tour. 

Starting on September 13, 2023, one of the A321XLR test airframes will embark on a 10-day (100 hour) world tour, which will see it flying between a number of different cities across the world.  

This is the first part of the final stages towards completing the certification process, with the type’s entry into service currently slated for Q2 2024. 

The route-proving tour will involve 15 flights over 10 days, covering around 100 flight hours. The aircraft will mimic airline operations and cover short and long-haul missions (up to 11hrs long). 

It will be possible to follow the A321XLR’s progress along its route via FlightRadar24

The European manufacturer is also expected to provide regular updates through a dedicated website.   

This tour will also serve an important purpose: to demonstrate the capabilities of the A321XLR and pitch it as an alternative to larger and more expensive wide-body aircraft in the operation of long routes. 

In this regard, the smaller, narrow-body A321XLR promises to allow airlines to operate relatively thin, long-haul routes more economically than with larger wide-body airliners. By proposing this new version of the A321, Airbus hopes to lower the financial risk for airlines when entering new, unproven markets. 

Another extended range version of the A321 is the A321LR. It is already in service with airlines such as TAP Air Portugal and Aer Lingus, which use it to cross the Atlantic, and with Air Astana, which operates it between Central Asia and Europe.  

The arrival of the A321XLR is expected to stimulate the launch of even more new city pairings. 

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