After accumulating more than 340 orders at the Paris Air Show, the A321XLR has established itself as an intercontinental aircraft option for many companies. But not all airlines see it as an ideal solution.
Carstern Spohr, CEO of Lufthansa, for example, was skeptical about the new variant of the A320 family. “The new XLR could be used in our network. We look at it. But in my view it’s a niche product, “he told investors in Frankfurt this week.
For the chief executive of the German group, the Airbus jet is not a game changer because it would not be comfortable to spend more than four hours aboard a narrowbody – the A321XLR will fly on much longer routes, up to 4,700 nautical miles or more 10 hours in flight.
Lufthansa currently has an order of 40 A321neo of which the first two have been delivered in recent weeks. In theory, the airline could convert part of this order to the XLR variant, as did several other companies in Le Bourget.
If the decision on the A321XLR has not yet been taken, the German group has already defined what to do with the various wide-bodies of its fleet. Lufthansa will reduce the number of aircraft types in the coming years, the company said.
Up to 2025 the Boeing 747-400, Boeing 767-300ER, Airbus A340 of the -300 and -600 and MD-11F variants should be removed from service.
Unlike what had been decided before, Lufthansa will remain with its 14 A380 as well as the 19 Boeing 747-8, in addition to the A350-900, A330-300 and Boeing 777F. Until then, the 787-9 and 777-9 will arrive in the fleet.
Other 777-200ER (Austrian Airlines), A340 (11 aircraft), A330-200 (11) and 767-300ER (six also in Austrian) will be retired. On the other hand, Swiss will continue to fly with the 777-300ER.