The Airbus A321LR receives certification

October 2, 2018, marked a significant milestone for Airbus. The Airbus A321LR finally received certification from EASA and FAA. This means Airbus is now certified:

  • to install up to three optional ACTs (fuel tanks) in the A321neo, with their associated new fuel management systems and lower-fuselage structural reinforcements
  • to provide A321neo’s “Airbus Cabin Flex” (ACF) option which incorporates a modified fuselage structure and a new door arrangement, together with a higher Maximum Take-Off Weight (MTOW) capability of up to 97 metric tonnes

Airbus A321LR has an ETOPS authorisation of up to 180 minutes single-engine diversion time, which is sufficient for performing any transatlantic route. Airlines would need to specify that they need the higher MTOW version while ordering so that lower-fuselage structural reinforcements are added. After delivery, the ACTs (Additional Centre Tanks) can be added or removed as per requirement. This gives higher flexibility to airlines.

Airbus A321LR

Airbus A321LR test flight

We have already covered A321LR capability and primary data which you can read by clicking on this link. Israel’s LCC arkia will be the launch customer for the Airbus A321LR and will receive the first aircraft in December 2018. Primera was initially the launch customer for the A321LR, but it shut shop earlier this week and filed for bankruptcy.

Airbus A321LR

Image Courtesy: XFW Spotter

IndiGo has ordered 25 Airbus A321neo as a part of a larger order with Airbus. IndiGo will receive 20 Airbus A321LR after taking delivery of 5 A321neo with 1 ACT. IndiGo’s plan is plain and straightforward: Launch LCC operation to Europe and Far-East. They plan on adding flights to London Gatwick from New Delhi, to begin with. Then other routes may follow. There has been chatter about launching flights to Hong Kong also.

A321LR basic data

Another Indian carrier that has Airbus A321neos on order is Vistara. They have 50 A320 family aircraft on order but haven’t specified the exact distribution between A320neo and A321neo. Will Vistara take delivery of A321LR? Will they use its long range to expand to thin and long routes?

Bottomline

The A321LR will help open up new markets where flying larger widebody aircraft isn’t economically viable. What we need to see is if IndiGo will be able to take advantage of this additional range to open up new virgin routes or add capacity on existing routes?

Comments

  1. India to Europe on an LCC will be hideous. I know people love cheap flights, but dont they care for their own comfort at all?

  2. This has the AvGeek in me really excited. Boeing 757s are aging, and Airbus might be filling that niche! Boeing tried to make the 737 work with the MAX, but it still can’t meet the range that the 757. I’m curious to see metrics on its takeoff and climb… if it can compete with the 757 in that regard, we might have a winner.

    Sources:

    https://www.businessinsider.com/boeing-757-pilot-reveals-737-not-replacement-2016-11

    http://www.askthepilot.com/757-v-737/

  3. Primera – the launch customer of A321LR went bust and Arkia jumping in was the ray of hope for this project!
    Also, Vistara has placed order for the Dreamliner, which will be for the Long Hauls. Not sure if A321LR suits their requirement.

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