Exclusive: Airbus A321XLR jet faces range gap after design safeguards -sources

Exclusive: Airbus A321XLR jet faces range gap after design safeguards -sources

Airbus is facing challenges with the range of its upcoming A321XLR passenger jet. However, the company has reached an agreement with European regulators on design safeguards required for certification. To address the shortfall, Airbus is offering some customers potential deals for the larger A330neo to meet their performance needs.

Despite the setback, Airbus remains confident that the A321XLR will maintain its unique range advantage in the single-aisle segment. An Airbus spokesperson responded to RushHourDaily, stating that they expect no significant impact on the aircraft’s range.

The A321XLR was launched in 2019 as an expansion of the successful A321neo jet. It aimed to outperform Boeing’s plans for a new jet in the middle of the market, which were later abandoned. The A321XLR made its air show debut at Le Bourget outside Paris last month.

The design of the A321XLR includes a rear central fuel tank that is molded into the fuselage contours to maximize fuel space and extend the range by 15% compared to Airbus’s current single-aisle model, the A321LR. However, regulators expressed concerns about fire risks and evacuation times in case of an accident, leading to discussions about necessary design changes for certification.

Airbus programs head Philippe Mhun confirmed in an interview that Airbus had reached an agreement with the European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) regarding the certification basis, including the design of the new fuel tank. The modifications involve adding a special protective liner to the fuel tank and implementing other reinforcements.

Due to the cumulative changes in the structure, the weight of the plane has increased by 700 to 800 kilos, compared to earlier estimates of 200-300 kilos. This additional weight will slightly reduce the maximum range, which Airbus officially states as 4,700 nautical miles. According to industry sources, the practical range will be reduced by approximately 200 nm in normal operations, bringing it closer to 4,000 nm.

According to a third industry source, the increased weight will limit the range of the A321XLR. This range is particularly important for airlines like JetBlue, based in New York, which is expected to be among the first users of the aircraft. JetBlue plans to utilize the A321XLR to open routes in Latin America or extend its reach into Europe.

Airbus aims to certify the A321XLR by the end of the year and deliver the first aircraft in the second quarter of 2024.

About News Team

Hi, I'm Alex Perez, an experienced writer with a focus on lifestyle and culture news. From food and fashion to travel and entertainment, I love exploring the latest trends and sharing my insights with readers. I also have a strong interest in world news and business, and enjoy covering breaking stories and events.

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