Airbus A321XLR entry into service delayed until Q3 2024


Airbus has confirmed that the ‘entry into service’ date of its long-awaited A321XLR model has been delayed once again, until the third quarter (Q3) of 2024. The type had already been delayed from its original ‘entry into service’ date of 2023. This was later amended to early 2024 after European regulatory authority EASA voiced concerns over the additional rear fuel tank incorporated into the model. 

Airbus is currently in the final phase of completing the certification for the A321XLR and is now ensuring it is ready for delivery by Q3. The reason for this further delay has been put down to certification process issues, which CEO Guillaume Faury admitted “were taking a bit longer than expected.” 


Despite the potential for a 200 nautical mile (370km) reduction in range caused by the design adjustments that were required to the rear fuel tank, Faury suggested that these issues had now been resolved. 

“We are satisfied with the production of the program,” he said, adding that its range met “expectations of what we had when we launched the program.” 

Part of the highly popular A320 family of aircraft, the A321XLR is the newest variant of the A321 in the single-aisle market. Designed to meet airline requirements for a narrowbody aircraft offering increased range and payload, the A321XLR will deliver a range of up to 4,700nm (8.700km), with 30% lower fuel consumption compared to previous next-generation aircraft. 

Despite the additional delay, there remains huge interest among airlines for the A321XLR program. Airbus has confirmed that to date it has received 550 A321XLR aircraft orders from 27 airlines, among 6,100 orders for the A321neo family in total.  


Significant customers for the new variant include full-service carriers such as Aer Lingus, Air Canada, American Airlines, Iberia, Qantas, and United Airlines, while the low-cost market is represented by carriers including Air Arabia, AirAsia X, flynas, IndiGo and JetBlue.  

Airbus had previously advised that the first customer A321XLR entered its final assembly line in December 2023. The launch customer for the A321XLR is expected to be International Airline Group’s Aer Lingus. During the IAG capital markets day held in November 2023, a spokesperson for the group identified the Irish carrier as the first airline that would fly the type in commercial service in Q4 2024.  

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