The best-selling A320neo Family will have an even longer “reach” in its latest version – the A321XLR (extra-long-range) – which was launched today by Airbus at the Paris Air Show with a total of 31 orders from Air Lease Corporation and Middle East Airlines.

The Air Lease Corporation acquisition of 27 A321XLRs was detailed at a standing-room-only press conference during the world’s largest aviation industry gathering’s opening day, with international journalists hearing Airbus’ confirmation of what had been widely anticipated within the air transport industry sector for the past several months.

It was followed by the announcement of Middle East Airlines’ firm order for four A321XLRs, which will be used by this carrier to strengthen its network in Africa and Asia.

Speaking at a morning press conference with Air Lease Corporation’s top executives, Airbus Chief Commercial Officer Christian Scherer said the leasing company’s A321XLR decision marked “another historical milestone in our relationship with ALC and for the industry at large.” 

ALC’s A321XLRs build on the A321LRs’ “tremendous success”

Steven F. Udvar-Házy, Executive Chairman of the Air Lease Corporation’s Board, explained: “We’ve had tremendous success with the A321LR long-range version; now with the A321XLR, we will open a whole new dimension of routes up to nine hours of flight time.” Deliveries of ALC’s A321XLRs are planned to begin during 2023, he added.

The A321XLR offers the longest-range capability of any single-aisle aircraft, covering distances of up to 4,700 nautical miles. It shares commonality with the other A320neo Family members for pilots, cabin crew and mechanics – along with significant spares commonalty with the A321LR – all of which facilitate airline operations.

This most capable single-aisle aircraft is opening new horizons for operators and passengers alike, connecting places previously unreachable by non-stop flights of single-aisle jetliners. “For example, you could travel from Barcelona to Chicago; from Texas or Florida to anywhere in South America – including Chile, Argentina and Brazil,” elaborated Udvar-Házy. As an additional benefit for travellers, the new “Airspace by Airbus” cabin featured on the A321XLR offers unparallel levels of passenger comfort.

In addition to the A321XLR order announced today, Udvar-Házy detailed Air Lease Corporation’s addition of 23 more A321neo jetliners to its portfolio, along with the leasing company’s first booking for the newest addition to Airbus’ product line: the A220, ordering 50 of its A220-300 versions. 

Building on A320neo’s success with the A321XLR

The A321XLR joins Airbus’ A320 product line of NEO (new engine option) aircraft, extending the range beyond what already has been demonstrated by the A321LR long-range NEO version, which entered service in 2018.

Airbus developed the A320 Family’s NEO product line to continue the success of its A320ceo single-aisle jetliner series, which began airline operations in 1988. The NEO aircraft are produced in the A319neo, A320neo and A321neo versions – from the shortest to longest fuselage configurations.

In other Airbus-related activity at the Paris Air Show, French President Emmanuel Macron arrived at Le Bourget Airport for his opening day visit aboard an Airbus-built A330 Multi-Role Tanker Transport (MRTT) – one of 12 being acquired by the French Air Force, which is among 12 nations ordering A330 MRTTs. 

A major step for the Future Combat Air System

While at the air show, President Macron witnessed the reveal of models for the New Generation Fighter (NGF) and Remote Carriers (RC), which are elements of the Future Combat Air System (FCAS). This reveal showcased the delivery of a joint industrial proposal by Dassault Aviation and Airbus for the first Demonstrator Phase of the FCAS, which has been provided to the governments of France and Germany.

This Demonstrator Phase – covering the 2019 to mid-2021 timeframe – will serve as a starting point for demonstrators and the technology development of a New Generation Fighter, Remote Carriers and an Air Combat Cloud to fly by 2026.

The first Demonstrator Phase marks another decisive step in the Next Generation Weapon System industrial organisation – in which the New Generation Fighter (to be built by Dassault and Airbus, with Dassault Aviation as prime contractor), along with the Remote Carriers and Air Combat Cloud (with Airbus as prime contractor), will be the cornerstone of the Future Combat Air System.

For additional information:

  • See the press release detailing Air Lease Corporation’s 100-aircraft acquisition for the A321XLR, A320neo and A220,
  • Read the press release on Middle East Airlines’ order for four A321XLRs,
  • Review the Airbus launch announcement on the A321XLR.
  • More information on the FCAS industrial proposal by Dassault and Airbus is available in the press release.