Airbus Delays A321XLR Entry Into Service

Daniel Fowkes
16 Feb 2024
· Aircraft 
Airbus has announced a further delay to the entry into service of the upcoming A321XLR, with it now expected in Q3 2024, not Q2.

Airbus’ upcoming A321XLR, set to help reshape single-aisle long-haul travel, has had its entry into service once more delayed, pushing back towards the second half of 2024.

The fresh delays will see Airbus target an EIS of Q3 2024, a pushback from the previously targeted Q2 2024.

However, these delays aren’t ultimately the first niggle the plane maker has felt with their new extra long ranged single-aisle type.

Previously, the A321XLR was expected to fly with airlines in 2023; however, it encountered substantial delays to its entry into service thanks to concerns about the additional fuel tank and the safety risks involved.

As a result, Airbus said it was pushing the EIS from initially 2023 through to 2024; now, the Q3 entry into service is the latest minor delay to the new aircraft. The news of the delay came as the manufacturer reported its full-year financial results and essential 2024 guidance.

The Rear Center Tank

The Rear Center Tank of the Airbus A321XLR, an enhancement that allows the new variant to reach up to 4,700 natural miles in range, is essential. Without the tank, the range capabilities that have been a huge selling point for the plane maker wouldn’t be possible.

As the manufacturer was forced to address concerns over this RCT, there was speculation that Airbus would be pushed to play around with the weight of the aircraft to reinforce its structural integrity.

If further weight were to be added to reinforce the area, then the range capabilities of the jet would likely be decreased and thus reduce the gap between the XLR and the LR.

An Important Aircraft

Once the A321XLR enters service, it’s expected to be hugely important, with customers flocking to order the jet during its first launch week.

Airlines such as Indigo, American Airlines, and Qantas, among others, have all committed to the new single-aisle jet to help advance their narrowbody offering.

The type’s capabilities are hugely enticing for airlines as they look towards enhancing their network while alleviating some of the pressures of their existing aircraft, whether narrow or widebody.

Additionally, with Boeing not proceeding with their middle-of-the-market entry, Airbus has an accessible pathway to capture most of the market and thus offer new iterations of its popular A321neo jet to entice customers into the program.

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