Airbus recently announced that its manufacturing sites are now being primed for major component assembly of its newest addition to the A320neo family – the A321XLR. Featuring design modifications to accommodate a new fuel tank that will put the X in ‘eXtra long-range’. Final assembly is scheduled to commence in the second half of 2021.
“The production of components for the first A321XLR flight-test aircraft is progressing through the sites all across the world, for large and small components as well as systems.” Gary O’Donnell, Head of Airbus’ A321XLR program.
To increase the aircraft’s range by 15% over its predecessors, a new integral fuel tank dubbed the Rear Centre Tank (RCT) is being adopted.
The RCT is central to the A321XLR’s extended range. This feature will allow the jet to fly up to 8,700 km, which is an increase of 15% compared to the A321LR, which has a range of 7,400 km.
American Airlines has 50 A321XLRs currently on order, while Qantas intends to deploy the 36 it has on order on routes such as Melbourne to Singapore and Cairns to Tokyo. Wizz Air is set to attempt to accommodate the notoriously difficult long-haul low-cost segment, with 20 of the jets scheduled for delivery from 2023 onwards.