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Photo: Airbus

Airbus launches longest-range single-aisle airliner

Airbus has unveiled the A321XLR at the Paris Air Show 2019, complementing its A321neo family of aircraft.

Airbus says that the launch of its new A321XLR in the A321neo family of aircraft marks “the next evolutionary step which responds to market needs for even more range, and creates more value for the airlines by bringing 30% lower fuel burn per seat than previous-generation competitor aircraft”.

When deliveries begin in 2023, the aircraft will provide a range of up to 4,700 nautical miles, which the company notes is 15% more than the A321LR but with the same fuel efficiency.

With this added range, airlines will be able to operate a lower-cost single-aisle aircraft on longer and less heavily travelled routes, many of which can now only be served by larger and less efficient wide-body aircraft.

This trait will enable operators to open new world-wide routes such as India to Europe or China to Australia, as well as further extending the reach on direct transatlantic flights between continental Europe and the Americas.

But the manufacturer also claims that, for passengers, the A321XLR’s new Airspace cabin “will provide the best travel experience, while offering seats in all classes with the same high-comfort as on long-haul widebody aircraft”.

More fuel, efficiency and space
Changes on the new aircraft include the new permanent Rear Centre Tank (RCT) for more fuel volume, modified landing gear for an increased maximum take-off weight of 101 metric tonnes and an optimised wing trailing-edge flap configuration to preserve the same take-off performance and engine thrust requirements as the current A321neo.

In particular, the new optimised RCT holds more fuel than several optional Additional Centre Tanks (ACTs) did previously while taking up less space in the cargo hold, which Airbus says frees up space under the floor for additional cargo and baggage on long-range routes.

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