One of the most anticipated commercial jets on the market, the Airbus A321XLR may take longer than expected to be delivered to customers who have ordered it. According to Bloomberg, the planemaker has informed customers of the aircraft that there will be a longer wait to have the new aircraft in their fleets. Sources told the outlet that delays in deliveries of the ultra-long-range aircraft to operators could vary by a matter of months, but not reach all customers.
According to the report, the delay will occur due to production problems at Airbus plants and the regulatory verification of the new central fuel tank that gives the A321XLR a transatlantic flight range of 4,700 nm (8,700 km), enough to fly non-stop from New York to Rome.
However, US and European aviation authorities are investigating a possible fire hazard related to the additional fuel tank. Since the launch of the project, more than 500 aircraft have been ordered.
With capacity for an additional 12 tonnes of fuel, the A321XLR’s extra fuel tank is installed close to the aircraft’s wingbox and directly under the main cabin.
However, as the publication cites, this detail does not concern aircraft buyers. Instead, they fear the regulatory review could delay the plane’s entry into service until late 2024 or early 2025, sources reported.
In a meeting with investors in Washington recently, Airbus CEO Guillaume Faury declared that the entry into service of the A321XLR “is still on track” to debut in the second quarter of 2024, reaffirming the schedule informed by the manufacturer during the earnings release of 2022 last month.