American Airlines has revealed that it has ordered 50 of the new Airbus A321XLRs. The announcement was made at the Paris Air Show this week. It is the first US airline to order the innovative new aircraft.

American Airlines had previously ordered the Airbus A321neo but has now adapted the order, replacing 30 of the A321neos with 30 A321XLRs with an additional 20 of the new planes on top. It’s thought that the new planes may be used to replace some of the older jets such as the Boeing 757s.

 

Advantages of the A321XLR

This new aircraft from Airbus is proving to be very popular, and that’s predominately because it’s highly economical. This groundbreaking plane is a single aisle craft that is capable of extra long distance flight, covering distances up to 4,700 nautical miles. The plane’s capacity is up to 244 passengers or 180-220 in a two class scenario with flatbed seats in business class. Previously, only the larger twin aisle jets have been able to fly such long distances. These larger planes though, are more expensive to run, making less popular routes not economically viable. With the A321XLR, longer haul routes can be flown with less passengers. The new jets also have excellent fuel economy.

Read our guide about the A321XLR.

A long term investment

While the financial details of the order have not been released, Robert Isom, president of American Airlines has stated that the initial cost of the A321XLR order will be greater than the previously arranged A321neo order. He believes that the A321XLR will be more useful in the long term and so brings with it greater overall value.

New routes between the US and Europe

Isom also confirmed that new routes are likely to open up to make the most of these extra long range aircraft. Currently routes fly between the most major cities, but soon we could see direct flights between secondary cities. One route Isom suggests could be on the cards is Philadelphia, USA to Basel, Switzerland. New routes such as this could be incredibly useful and time saving for business travelers and open up more opportunities for holiday makers.

No competition from Boeing so far

It had been rumored that Boeing may unveil its new midsize airplane, the B797 at the Paris Air Show. This is the plane that could rival the new A321XLR, but due to the grounding of the 737 Max and the efforts to ensure these aircraft are safe to fly, Boeing has slowed development and focused its work on getting the 737 Max airworthy again. So for now, there is no direct competition for Airbus and the orders seem to be coming in thick and fast. Frontier Airlines, based in Denver, will be taking delivery of 18 A321XLRs from 2023 onward, as its parent company, Indigo Partners ordered a total of 50 XLRs, the rest headed for budget airlines across Europe and Latin America. Other customers include JetBlue, Middle East Airlines and Air Lease Corporation.

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