Paris 2019: American's A321XLR order to open new route possibilities

American Airlines is eyeing growth from its US East Coast hubs to new destinations in Europe and South America after agreeing to acquire 50 of Airbus’ new A321XLR aircraft, the longer-range version of the A321neo.

US carrier American Airlines is to acquire 50 Airbus A321XLRs, converting 30 existing A321neo orders and incremental orders for an additional 20 of the new longer-range version.

The airline is the largest Airbus operator in the world with 422 aircraft. Including this deal, which was made at the Paris Air Show, it has outstanding orders for 115 A321neos and A321XLRs from Airbus.

American’s president Robert Ibsom said the A321XLR would bring added flexibility to its network. The aircraft has a range of around 8,700 km, which is 15 per cent longer than the A321LR.

“When I take a look at where we’re heading, we’ve got a great fleet of 777s - 200s and 300s - mashed with the 787s,” Ibsom told American’s Tell Me Why podcast.

“Adding in some 321XLRs, I think is going to really give us an opportunity to do things we haven’t done in the past.

“I take a look at places like JFK [New York John F Kennedy], Philadelphia, Charlotte, and even DFW [Dallas/Fort Worth]. Opening up some new markets that will help the network and will help us serve our customers better.”

The first A321XLR delivery is expected in 2023 when eight will join American’s fleet. A further 22 will be delivered in 2024 and 20 in 2025.

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