Airbus A321XLR expected to debut for Iberia at the end of the year – report

Ultra-long-range narrow-body aircraft is in the final stretch of certification. Spanish carrier could be the first to receive it and use it on flights to the United States and Brazil

The long-awaited A321XLR, ultra-long-range variant of Airbus’ successful commercial jet, is expected to have its first aircraft delivered in the third quarter of 2024, after some delays.

Capable of flying up to 4,700 nautical miles (8,700 km), the A321XLR was chosen by several customers, including the IAG Group, and is expected to receive 14 aircraft by 2026.

Originally, Aer Lingus would be the plane’s debut company, but labor problems in Ireland would have made IAG change plans and focus the first A321XLR on Iberia, Spain’s main carrier.

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Indeed, an A321XLR partially painted in Iberia colors has been spotted at the Airbus plant in Hamburg, confirming rumors that the airline is on track to receive it soon.

New destinations in the United States and Brazil

According to El País, Iberia plans to put the first jets on transoceanic routes to the United States and Brazil.

Currently, the Spanish airline flies with widebodies to destinations such as New York, Miami, Chicago, Boston, Dallas and Los Angeles, in addition to seasonal flights to San Francisco and Washington.

Iberia A321XLR rendering (Airbus)

With the A321XLR, capable of carrying up to 244 passengers, Iberia could launch flights to Atlanta, Orlando, Charleston and Philadelphia, in the United States.

For Brazil, the focus is to establish routes to the northeast region of the South American country, which has several tourist cities. Among the destinations evaluated would be Salvador and Natal, according to the outlet.

The great attraction of the A321XLR is its low operating cost, around 30% lower than that of similar aircraft of the same size. Compared to heavy widebodies, the Airbus is even more advantageous, although it does not have as spacious a hold for cargo.


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