Airbus hints details about A321XLR
Airbus has hinted at some details regarding their A321XLR study, which hopes to be an aircraft that takes on the routes the A321LR cannot operate, as well as those that operators will be looking for efficient Boeing 757 replacements.
The goal is to have a maximum takeoff weight of over 100t, compared to the 97t available on the A321LR. In order to accomplish this figure, the aircraft will have to have some minor modifications incorporated into its design and assembly, including a strengthened landing gear and reinforced fuselage structures.
Already, the A321LR has a range of 4000 nautical miles. The A321XLR intends to increase that figure by another 700 nautical miles, which has the attention of Lufthansa, who pushed for more range than the A321LR already has, specifically around 5000 nautical miles.
Weight saving projects are already in place for the A320neo family so that could be applied to the A321XLR should it become a firm aircraft. Additionally, engineers are on task identifying ways to increase fuel capacity, while maintaining the same wing.
Pratt and Whitney Geared Turbofan engines or CFM LEAP engines would be the only options for power, just like the A320neo family already.
Despite these figures and ideas that are being thrown around, Airbus insists the aircraft is merely a study and there are definitely more options available. The A321LR has already got the attention from quite a few airlines and the Airbus A321XLR, if it becomes a reality, is expected to take on the rest of the demand.
Arkia, who just received their first A321LR, reports a 30% reduction in fuel burn per seat and a 31% cash operating cost saving per seat compared to the Boeing 757, which is the open market that airlines want aircraft for.
Boeing is countering the A321LR and any other variants by conducting their own studies, currently dubbed as the 797, which has recently been said to be launched during next years Paris Air Show.
Ultimately it’s what the market wants. If there is no demand for such aircraft, Airbus or Boeing won’t build it, but it doesn’t mean it won’t return in the future. The A321LR, A321neo and Boeing 737 MAX family are all doing exceptionally well, and as always, both sides have to be considered. Boeing will be busy talking to airlines about their ideas too.