Airbus’ new A321LR completed its maiden flight yesterday, marking a major milestone in the expansion of the company’s best-selling A320 airliner product line.
This A321LR variant – its LR designation signifies ‘long range’ – is able to cover 7,400 kilometres nonstop, allowing airlines to tap into new long-haul markets, such as transatlantic routes not accessible with current single-aisle aircraft. Its ‘long legs’ are signified by the depiction of a New York-to-Paris route on the fuselage, represented by illustrations of Paris’ Eiffel Tower and the Statue of Liberty in New York.
The A321LR’s interior is based on the A321neo ACF, or Airbus Cabin Flex configuration, itself an evolution of the twin-engine A321neo that has captured more than an 80 percent share in its middle-of-the-market category.
Incorporated in ACF’s interior are a new centre section and modified passenger door/emergency exit arrangement, allowing for 206 passengers in a comfortable two-class layout or up to 240 passengers in single class layout – with the widest single-aisle fuselage cross-section in the skies. Passengers have the possibility of stowing up to three bags each, and the availability of the Airspace by Airbus cabin further enhances a travel experience for passengers.
The A321LR version that performed its maiden flight features an increased maximum take-off weight and an additional centre fuel tank, extending the aircraft’s range to 7,400 km.
The maiden flight was performed from Airbus’ industrial facility in Hamburg, Germany, with the aircraft powered by CFM International LEAP-1A engines. Nearly 100 hours of flight tests are planned as Airbus seeks A321LR type certification from the European and American airworthiness certifying authorities. Deliveries to airline customers are expected beginning in the fourth quarter of this year.