The most awaited commercial aircraft today, the A321XLR is close to performing its maiden flight. The first test aircraft is almost finished, with the engines installed in the pylons of the wings, as revealed by a pictures of the Airbus jet in Hamburg, Germany. The authorship of the images is the German spotter Tobias Gudat, who posted the images on Twitter (see below).
Airbus has yet to set a date for the first flight of the new A321neo variant, but that is expected to take place in a few weeks given the advanced stage of construction of the aircraft. Before that, however, the prototype will still go through the process of painting the fuselage and testing it on the ground. The start of deliveries of series production aircraft is scheduled for 2023.
The A321XLR is a jetliner that can set new benchmarks in the single-aisle aircraft segment. According to Airbus, it will be able to fly nonstop for 4,700 nautical miles (8,700 km). It has about 15% more autonomy than the A321LR, the current variant of the A321neo with greater flight range.
— Tobi (@Tobias_Gudat) April 12, 2022
The performance will allow the A321XLR to perform non-stop transoceanic flights in some regions of the world. And with a fuel economy of 30% over older jets of similar size, according to the manufacturer.
The trick to transforming the A321 into an aircraft capable of operating on routes previously exclusive to large aircraft is the insertion of an extra fuel tank at the rear of the fuselage, with a capacity of over 12,900 liters.
Since the A321XLR project was launched at the Paris Air Show 2019, Airbus has been accumulating hundreds of orders for the new product. Until February this year, the manufacturer received 515 orders for the aircraft from 25 customers.