Airbus’ new A321LR completed its maiden flight Wednesday (January 31, 2018), marking a milestone in the expansion of the best-selling A320 airliner product line. The A321LR (long range) variant can travel 7,400 kilometres non-stop. This allows airlines to tap into new long-haul markets, such as transatlantic routes not accessible with current single-aisle aircraft. The A321LR’s interior is based on the A321neo or Airbus Cabin Flex (ACF) configuration – an evolution of the twin-engine A321neo that has secured more than an 80 per cent share of the middle-of-the-market category. Airbus is now aiming for type certification in the second quarter of 2018. The A321 LR should go into operation in the fourth quarter of 2018.
Crew of six on maiden flight
A crew of two test pilots, three flight trials engineers and cabin specialists were aboard the maiden flight lasting 2 hours and 36 minutes. Particular attention was paid to flight control, engines, the aircraft’s main systems and control mechanisms as well as the “Flight Envelope Protection” for avoiding dangerous flying positions at high and low speeds.
Space for up to 240 passengers
The ACF’s interior has a new centre section and modified passenger door/emergency exit allowing for 206 passengers in a comfortable two-class layout or up to 240 passengers in single class layout – all with the widest single-aisle fuselage cross-section in the skies. Passengers can stow up to three bags each. The “Airspace by Airbus” cabin enhances the unrivalled travel experience for passengers. The A321LR features an increased maximum take-off weight and an additional centre fuel tank, extending the aircraft’s range to 7,400 km.