Despite incurring a delay to its entry into service, Airbus’ newest member of the A321 family, the A321XLR, has returned home to Toulouse after a week in Canada to complete tests. Cold-weather tests are being conducted in line with development plans that will eventually lead to aircraft certification.
Airbus initially expected the A321XLR to begin flying with passengers in 2023. However, that has been pushed backwards to 2024 at this stage. The cold-weather testing took place in Iqaluit. This is the capital of Nunavut and sits on Baffin Island.
It is the perfect location for cold-weather testing to take place. Airbus performed several trials during the week-long period the aircraft was in Iqaluit. This included ground and flight tests. At the same time, the A321XLR may not always fly in such conditions. The aircraft must be certified for such missions if a future operator deploys the plane to a colder climate. It is the same for warm weather testing that also takes place in a certification program.
One of the more critical tests for Airbus to complete and identify if there were any problems is how responsive the systems were following an extended period of systems being offline in the cold.
As the aircraft has returned to France, Airbus is expected to continue its certification program and move towards a 2024 entry.
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