Airbus’ new A321LR completed its maiden flight yesterday, marking a major milestone in the expansion of the company’s A320 airliner product line.
This A321LR variant – its LR stands for ‘long range’ – is able to cover 7,400 kilometres nonstop, allowing airlines to tap into new long-haul markets, such as transatlantic routes not accessible with current single-aisle aircraft. Its ‘long legs’ are signified by the depiction of a New York-to-Paris route on the fuselage, represented by illustrations of Paris’ Eiffel Tower and the Statue of Liberty in New York.
The A321LR’s interior is based on the A321neo ACF, or Airbus Cabin Flex configuration, which is an evolution of the twin-engine A321neo.
The aircraft interior features a new centre section and modified passenger door/emergency exit arrangement, allowing for 206 passengers in a two-class layout or up to 240 passengers in single class layout. Passengers can stow up to three bags each.
The A321LR version that performed its maiden flight this week features an increased maximum take-off weight and an additional centre fuel tank, extending the aircraft’s range to 7,400 km.
The flight took off from Airbus’ industrial facility in Hamburg, Germany, with the aircraft powered by CFM International LEAP-1A engines. Nearly 100 hours of flight tests are planned as Airbus seeks A321LR type certification from the European and American airworthiness certifying authorities. Deliveries to airline customers are expected beginning in the fourth quarter of this year.