As the Airbus A321XLR embarks on its September route-proving campaign, Airbus marketing specialist Ludek Jando explains the aircraft’s unique appeal. What modifications are needed to fly a single-aisle plane for up to 11 hours?


Ludek, what makes the A321XLR so attractive to airlines? 

It’s the single-aisle Xtra-Long-Range route opener! The A321XLR is the latest chapter in the A320 Family programme’s continuous development. 

The A321XLR sits side by side with widebodies in an airline’s fleet. It introduces the flexibility to add capacity, to open new routes, or even to continue operating existing ones when demand is variable. All while burning 30% less fuel per seat than previous generation competitor aircraft, at roughly half the trip cost of modern widebodies.

This versatility explains why Airbus has received more than 550 orders so far, from over 25 customers! 

Simply put, the A321XLR is a network extender. And thanks to the Airspace cabin, fitted as standard, it can be configured to combine comfort with density in line with airline requirements.

How is A321XLR different from a classical A321neo? 

First of all, the A321XLR is a member of the A320 Family like any other. That eases entry into service for customers already operating the type, in terms of spare parts management or crew rostering for example.

Structurally, the key addition is the rear centre tank with a capacity of 12,900 litres of fuel. Along with an optional additional centre tank, it extends the A321XLR’s maximum range to 4,700 nautical miles or 11 hours of flying time. 

To make full use of this new fuel capacity, the A321XLR’s maximum takeoff weight is increased compared to the A321LR (Long Range), weighing in at 101 tonnes compared to 97 tonnes. Then we reinforced the main and nose landing gear, and of course increased the A321XLR’s water-carrying capacity to cater to those longer flights.

What’s the market perception of single-aisle long-haul travel?  

Top of the list, even well-established city pairs such as London-Miami or Sydney-Kuala Lumpur will benefit from the year-round sweet spot the XLR offers airlines.

A321XLR city pair livery

In fact we’ve already had great feedback from A321LR customers. When Airbus showcased a jetBlue A321LR at this year’s Paris Air Show, for example, its level of comfort in both business and economy class wowed the public. 

Our customers regularly tell us how passengers find the aircraft roomier and more comfortable than they expected, especially with a generous seat pitch and, above all, Airspace cabin enablers like mood lighting or our XL bins. 

So my own feeling is that single-aisle long-haul is the future. 

jetBlue Cabin A321XLR

Moreover, as part of the certification campaign, we'll be putting over 200 passionate Airbus employees who've worked on the programme onboard our full-cabin test aircraft in early October to experience the fully-equipped cabin for themselves. 

Most importantly, they'll provide our experts with early feedback on every aspect of passenger life onboard the A321XLR. Stay tuned!

A321XLR pax flight take off

Discover our A321XLR journey