It‘s official: Airbus has launched the longest-range narrow-body jetliner, the A321XLR, on the first day of the Paris Air Show 2019, Monday, June 17. While the launch itself comes as no surprise, the European plane maker is now set to break records at the airshow in a major blow to its U.S. rival Boeing when it comes to mid-market aircraft.

The newly launched A321XLR (Xtra Long Range) is the long-range version of Airbus’ best-selling A321neo Family and comes as the company’s response to market needs for even more range and fuel efficiency.

The aircraft has the range of up to 4,700nm (8,700 km) in a two-class layout, which stands as 15% more than its predecessor, the A321LR (Long Range). The A321XLR also has 30% lower fuel burn per seat than previous-generation competitor aircraft, the plane maker states.

“The A321XLR has been designed to maximize overall commonality with the A321LR and the rest of the A320neo Family, while introducing minimal changes needed to give the aircraft an Xtra Long Range with increased revenue payload,” Airbus says in an official press release.

The technical changes include: the new optimized permanent Rear Centre Tank (RCT) for more fuel volume; a modified landing gear for an increased maximum take-off weight (MTOW) of 101 metric tons; and an optimized wing trailing-edge flap configuration to preserve the same take-off performance and engine thrust requirements as the current A321neo.

According to Airbus, due to its extended range, the new jet will allow airlines to operate a lower-cost single-aisle aircraft on longer and less heavily travelled routes – many of which can only be served by larger and less efficient wide-body aircraft.

Consequently, the jet should enable operators to open new routes, such as India to Europe or China to Australia, as well as expand on direct transatlantic flights between continental Europe and the Americas.

The A321XLR is scheduled to enter service in 2023.

READ MORE:
 
As the industry eagerly awaits for an update on Boeing’s new 797 mid-range aircraft or NMA at the upcoming Paris Air Show 2019, Airbus may have something more substantial up its sleeve. According to various sources, the European plane maker is likely to launch an extra long-range variant of its A321 family of aircraft, the A321XLR, which would be a direct competitor to the Boeing 797.