Icelandair Orders A321XLR, Retiring 757s

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Airbus has secured a sizeable yet significant commitment from Icelandair for their A321XLR. This is Airbus’ newest member of the A321 family of aircraft and is expected to enter service sometime next year.

Icelandair’s order consists of 13 of the type and will directly replace their Boeing 757 fleet. The 757s have been a mainstay for the Icelandic carrier for the longest period, and the A321XLRs have been determined as the best possible replacement for ageing planes.

Icelandair knows the reality. While the 757s remain ever-reliable, they have been swamped by better-performing aircraft such as this series.

The aircraft is expected to enter the airline’s operations in 2029. This makes it one of the longest periods between order and delivery commencement we’ve seen in some time.

Typically, the turnaround time, while not instant as we factor in backlog and available slots, will rarely extend six years before commencement. Either way, the airline will eventually fly 13 of the XLRs with options included in the deal for a further 12 meaning there’s a combined total of 25.

The mentioned long gap between order and delivery has seen Icelandair shed further light on this crucial decision made. By the midway point of this decade, they’ll begin flying the A321 family of aircraft, just not the XLR.

Icelandair plans to acquire LRs, just your standard long-ranged variant for its operations. However, these would be done on a lease, and the carrier labels these plans as progressing significantly.

Icelandair’s decision to move towards the XLR as a replacement for its 757 will always pose the same questions surrounding Boeing’s lack of an NMA, a new middle-of-the-market airliner and how essentially the European plane-maker has free reign in the sector.

Daniel Fowkes
11 Apr 2023
· Aircraft 
· Airlines 

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