Airbus’ A321XLR, the newest entry to the A320neo family slated to enter service in 2024, has begun a world tour.
The 10-day world tour is slated to be hugely important to the overall certification process of the variant that’s been highly inspected.
This tour is labelled as a route-proving tour that’ll see the aircraft cover around 100 flight hours across ten days.
Airbus hopes this ten-day tour will mimic some of the missions on which airlines will deploy the aircraft once delivered, targeted at short and long flights.
The A321XLR, which harbours the most range out of any variant in the A320neo, is slated to push the boundaries of single-aisle travel and open up new opportunities for the airlines that buy into the program.
However, to achieve the additional range of the A321LR, an additional fuel tank has been added, this being the centre of attention in an ongoing certification battle that has delayed the entry into service date by a year.
We will have maintenance teams provided by Airbus at each base. They will be working with our airline customers in terms of providing us with a fuel truck or a catering service or a water and waste servicing truck – all those kinds of things in just the same way as the airlines do on any of their rotations on any day of the week.Jim Fawcett, Airbus’ Lead Flight Test Engineer for the A321XLR’s FnR exercise
Either way, the A321XLR will take on a total of 15 flights. These flights will take the aircraft from Toulouse to Toulouse. While a flight to nowhere, it’ll be very far from that. The airline is expected to fly near the North Pole, head towards Europe, and then the second part of the operations will venture from a US airport.