Today we find that the world's largest airline, American Airlines, will acquire 50 Airbus A321XLR aircraft. We talked about this possibility earlier in the month. Finally, we now know that the purchase agreement includes the conversion of 30 existing A321neo orders from American to A321XLRs, as well as incremental orders for 20 additional A321XLRs.
A case of déjà vu
If this ad sounds vaguely familiar, you're not going crazy! This déjà vu case is because American Airlines made a similar arrangement at the Paris Air Show 2011. At the time, Airbus managed to persuade American Airlines to make its first European jet purchase in decades. Taken by surprise, Boeing made the decision to upgrade MAX instead of designing a new narrow-cabin aircraft.
According to Wikipedia, this new order will put a total of 120 Airbus aircraft under the order of American Airlines:
- 5x A319-100
- 65x A321neo
- 50x A321XLR
Other A321XLR spares & accessories
The new long-range version of the Airbus A321neo became incredibly popular in the early days of the Paris Air Show. Already in recent days we have seen the following requests from the airlines A321XLR:
- 50 to Indigo Partners (subsidiary airlines Wizz Air, Frontier, JetSmart and Volaris)
- 14 for IAG – these will split so that 8 go to Iberia and 6 go to Aer Lingus
- 4 for MEA
- and finally the Qantas Group plans to take 36 divided between the main line of Qantas and its subsidiary JetStar
More reach, more efficiency
It's obvious why the Airbus A321XLR has become so popular so quickly. According to Airbus, the aircraft will offer 30% less fuel per seat than "competing aircraft of the previous generation". The A321XLR will also provide extra long range: up to 4,700nm. This, according to the official press release, is 15% more than the A321LR.
That is why, Airbus says, airlines will now be able to operate a single-aisle low-cost aircraft for longer and less busy routes. Routes that were previously only flown by larger and less efficient wide-body jets.
We are excited to see the new routes that this aircraft will open. As Airbus says:
"This will allow carriers to open new global routes, such as India to Europe or China to Australia, and further extend the family's uninterrupted reach on direct transatlantic flights between continental Europe and the Americas"
Operating these "long and thin" routes, this new jet will be an extremely valuable asset to low-cost carriers as they serve low-demand city pairs neglected by legacy carriers. We recently wrote about the possibilities this brings to Frontier on the transatlantic front.
The aircraft is also expected to be a joy to fly compared to older aircraft, as the A321XLR's new "airspace booth" will offer seats in all classes "the same comfort as long-haul widebody aircraft."
We are now close to the middle of the Paris Air Show and we have seen so much positive news for the A321XLR. With so many days remaining, we'll be eager to see what other airlines advertise for the plane.
Who do you think will be next to announce? Maybe JetBlue?