Why 2024 Will Be Huge For Airbus

Daniel Fowkes
12 Jan 2024
· Aircraft 
· Airlines 
2024 will be a huge year for Airbus with the A321XLR debut, a potential new A220, major aircraft orders and much more.

As Airbus looks ahead to 2024, several key developments are expected to shape the company into an exciting year for the plane maker, from aircraft certifications to supply chain rebuilding. Additionally, the company will focus on developing the next era of flight.

Airbus A321XLR

One of the most anticipated moments in 2024 for Airbus is the certification and entry into service of the A321XLR. This aircraft, an extended-range version of the popular A321neo, further enhances the A321LR.

The A321XLR, since being announced in 2019, has garnered significant attention for its prospective ability to operate extra-long-haul ranged routes efficiently. This variant is designed to offer airlines a versatile and cost-effective solution as a single-aisle.

Airbus will launch the A321XLR in 2024 with a host of airlines having already ordered the aircraft. Airbus will hope it can edge out Boeing and be an industry leader in the market.
Airbus’ upcoming A321XLR

During the first week of its launch, Airbus secured hundreds of orders from airlines around the world, with the key benefits it’ll bring being highlighted. Harbouring a range of approximately 4,700 nautical miles, the aircraft allows operators to connect more city pairings without needing a traditional widebody airliner.

The flexibility offered by the A321XLR opens up new route possibilities and enhances the flexibility of airlines’ network planning, with widebodies seeing pressure eased.

A321XLR Delays

The anticipated certification timeline for the A321XLR has faced delays. Initially slated for certification in 2023, concerns related to the additional fuel tank, which is integral to the extended range capabilities, prompted Airbus to push the certification timeline to a later date.

Addressing these concerns ensures the aircraft meets safety and performance standards before entering commercial service. However, from the problems being addressed, potential issues were identified at the time.

To organise a fix for the A321XLR, further weight was speculated to be needed to reinforce the area in question. As a result, there were numerous visible concerns that the capabilities that once made the A321XLR so attractive may be reduced. However, this has not been confirmed.

Rebuilding A Supply Chain

In addition to the A321XLR certification, 2024 will be a pivotal year for Airbus in rebuilding its supply chain further. Like many other companies, the aviation industry has faced disruptions due to the emerging global COVID-19 pandemic and conflict.

Delays in the production and delivery of aircraft components have impacted Airbus’ daily operations. 2023 was an excellent year for the plane maker, but it’ll want to build upon that further and be able to achieve ambitions laid out some time ago.

In 2024, Airbus will aim to restore smoothness to its supply chain operations, minimising disruptions and ensuring the timely delivery of aircraft to customers.

Meeting Demand From Airlines

The rebuilding of the supply chain will be critical for Airbus to meet the demand for its aircraft seen across the industry. Airlines are currently in growth mode and are looking to order new planes whenever possible.

While Boeing is facing its battles, analysts have questioned Airbus’ ability to meet the growing demand as it battles with increased production. Increasing production and meeting targets will be essential to the airline in meeting long-term ambitions.

New Orders?

Furthermore, 2024 will be a year in which Airbus seeks to build upon its strong order performance in the preceding years. Aircraft types such as the A321XLR, A350, and maybe even the A330neo will be, of course, for the company as it looks to increase its backlog further.

The company will likely leverage major airshows and industry events to announce and showcase new orders, build customer relationships, and demonstrate the continued market demand for its aircraft.

A220 Stretch Finally?

Another area of interest is the potential extension of the A220 program with the introduction of the A220-500.

The A220, formerly the Bombardier CSeries, has proven a successful venture for Airbus, offering airlines an efficient and modern solution for the small to medium-sized narrow-body market.

Airbus will potentially explore the launch of a stretched A220, dubbed the A220-500 as it looks to extend its strength within the market.

Since taking over the program, Airbus has looked towards pushing it in North America, where it has succeeded, but they are always attempting to enhance their grip.

The A220-500, if developed, could further expand the A220 family, providing airlines with a larger variant that offers increased capacity while maintaining the fuel efficiency and flexibility that airlines love about it.

Several airlines, including airBaltic, have expressed interest in a potential A220-500 variant. The Air Current, a reputable source, has also indicated that an A220-500, as it has been dubbed, is also of interest to Airbus.

Innovation & Sustainbility.

Looking into the future, Airbus will be forced to continue its focus on innovation and sustainability. The industry is transforming to more environmentally friendly and fuel-efficient aircraft.

As a result of this switch, Airbus must ensure it is ahead of the pack. The European plane maker is actively exploring technologies and initiatives to power the next era of its plane with a strong emphasis on reducing environmental impact.

Sustainable aviation initiatives, including the development of hybrid and electric propulsion systems, alternative fuels, and more fuel-efficient designs, will remain a key area of focus, but these are certainly more long-term. That, however, doesn’t stop the work from continuing.

In Conclusion

2024 will see landmark first deliveries to aircraft customers, work will continue on the A350 Freighter, and there’ll even be more surprises.

Ultimately, the anticipated certification of the A321XLR will be a crucial focus for the plane maker, among many other focuses.

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