Uh Oh: Airbus A321XLR Faces Range Limitations Due To New Safety Features

Uh Oh: Airbus A321XLR Faces Range Limitations Due To New Safety Features

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Airbus is having some issues with delivering on the range that it has been promising airlines with its new ultra long range narrow body jet…

The A321XLR needs new fuel tank safety feature

The Airbus A321XLR is an exciting new aircraft, which was announced in 2019. Over 500 of these jets have been ordered by over two dozen airlines, and they’ll usher in a new era of long haul travel on narrow body jets. The plane is a huge competitive advantage for Airbus, as Boeing doesn’t have a competitor. This is quite the flip, because Boeing used to have the advantage in this market, with the 757.

The A321XLR is an evolution of the existing A321 model, and the plan is for this to be the longest range narrow body aircraft in production. It’s amazing just how much improvement we’ve seen to the A321:

  • We first saw the introduction of the A321neo, featuring new engines offering lower fuel burn, and in turn, more range
  • We then saw the introduction of the A321LR, featuring even more range
  • We’re now seeing the introduction of the A321XLR, offering up to 4,700 nautical miles, thanks to a new fuel tank, plus a higher maximum takeoff weight

The A321XLR will be a game changer for some airlines, and allow them to operate point-to-point flights in long haul markets in an economical way when it wasn’t previously possible.

While the aircraft was initially supposed to enter passenger service as of 2023, it has encountered some delays with the certification process. Just over a year ago, we learned that the A321XLR has been delayed until 2024.

The reason is that the European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) has expressed safety concerns about the aircraft’s extra fuel tank. The whole reason the A321XLR is longer range is because it has an extra fuel tank in the rear fuselage, and the concern was that this posed a fire safety risk.

There’s both a positive and negative update regarding this. Reuters is now reporting that Airbus and the EASA have reached an agreement about new safety features for the jet, paving the way for this aircraft to be certified.

These modifications call for a new protective liner to be added to the rear fuel tank, as well as some other reinforcements. Unfortunately these safety improvements are coming at a significant cost, though…

American Airlines has ordered the Airbus A321XLR

This may reduce the plane’s range by 200 nautical miles

While the initial estimate was that these new safety features would add 200-300 kilograms to the weight of the aircraft, sources now suggest that this will add 700-800 kilograms of weight to the jet.

The estimate is now that this added weight will reduce the aircraft’s range by around 200 nautical miles, making the maximum range of the jet around 4,500 nautical miles.

Keep in mind that the maximum range is far from the practical range under normal operations:

  • Range doesn’t factor in the jet stream; it takes more fuel to fly westbound than eastbound, given how winds work
  • Every flight operates with significant fuel reserves to account for any disruptions, like weather, congestion, the need to divert, etc.

So even with the initial planned range of 4,700 nautical miles, the actual operational range was going to be closer to 4,000 nautical miles. It sounds like that has now been knocked down closer to 3,800 nautical miles.

United Airlines has ordered the Airbus A321XLR

This is significant, but not the end of the world

In a statement, an Airbus spokesperson has stated that “Airbus expects no significant impact on the XLR’s unique range advantage in the single-aisle segment.” Of course that’s accurate, because Airbus doesn’t have a competitor in this market. The A321XLR is still much longer range than any version of the Boeing 737 MAX.

Apparently Airbus has approached some A321XLR customers about potentially swapping A321XLR orders for the larger A330neo aircraft, especially for situations where the performance gap could impact the reason airlines ordered plans.

This range change won’t be an issue for routes from the Northeast of the United States to Western Europe. However, this could limit the ability of airlines like JetBlue to fly from Fort Lauderdale to Paris, or Fort Lauderdale to Buenos Aires.

Similarly, it could be an issue for flights from the Midwest of the United States to Europe, or for flights from the Northeast of the United States to Eastern Europe.

I am curious, for those with more knowledge than me on how these negotiations work, any clue what happens here in practice? Can all airlines that ordered this aircraft try to renegotiate how much they paid, given that they’re not getting the full range they “paid” for? Or is there not quite as much wiggle room to retroactively negotiate?

JetBlue Airways has ordered the Airbus A321XLR

Bottom line

The Airbus A321XLR has been facing some certification issues due to safety concerns regarding the plane’s rear fuel tank. The good news is that regulators are nearing a deal with Airbus about the fix needed. The bad news is that it’s expected to add 700-800 kilograms to the plane’s weight, reducing the plane’s range by around 200 nautical miles.

While this doesn’t destroy the jet’s value proposition, it certainly limits the viability of some potential city pairs that this plane could have flown.

What do you make of these Airbus A321XLR range updates?

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  1. JetBlueFanboy Diamond

    That's unfortunate to hear. If only airlines had the option to buy a similar-sized narrowbody with more thrust, MTOW, range, and a few other perks such as double bogie landing gear and L2 boarding...

  2. Gemma Guest

    I can see it being valuable for niche seasonal routes but it depends on the amount of pilots/ FA's required (a 757 from JFK to EDI required only two pilots/5 crew, for example). There are many routes on the East Coast that can operate with the same crew requirements as domestic.

    Speaking as a passenger, however, unless the cabin is up to the usual long-haul standards (IFE, better seats/room, meals etc) this will be...

    I can see it being valuable for niche seasonal routes but it depends on the amount of pilots/ FA's required (a 757 from JFK to EDI required only two pilots/5 crew, for example). There are many routes on the East Coast that can operate with the same crew requirements as domestic.

    Speaking as a passenger, however, unless the cabin is up to the usual long-haul standards (IFE, better seats/room, meals etc) this will be a hard sell for flights over 5 hours. I can't imagine starting my vacation on an "Oasis" interior model. My family just booked a flight to Europe this fall and we chose to pay more to connect through a base (not our hometown carrier) for first class seats/lounge access RT rather than pay less for a strait shot FC seat on our home base airline. At our age, we prioritize comfort and quality and there's just no guarantee with American carriers anymore.

    I hope the airlines devaluing their product to push profits will realize that current consumer trends indicate people are willing to pay for a more premium product, at least on the leisure travel side.

  3. Paper Boarding Pass Guest

    If the XLR fails to meet contract standards, the airlines can opt out. And airlines like JetBlue don't want a wide body at this time; its just add another layer of complexity. Some of the weight can be offset by fewer PAX on board, but it defeats the purpose.
    The whole purpose of the program was a long legged narrow body. As time progresses, maybe Airbus can find workarounds, but this situation buts a kink in the Airbus mystic.

  4. Big Ed Mustopha Guest

    I think this is trying to fit a square peg in a round hole. Single isle planes are not supposed to travel as far as widebody planes. Fuel efficiency talk is starting to annoy me. Not only is this plane cramped buy also underpowered compared to widebody aircraft as well as the 757 which is a much more robust aircraft. This aircraft is a regional plane capable of flying coast to coast but no more....

    I think this is trying to fit a square peg in a round hole. Single isle planes are not supposed to travel as far as widebody planes. Fuel efficiency talk is starting to annoy me. Not only is this plane cramped buy also underpowered compared to widebody aircraft as well as the 757 which is a much more robust aircraft. This aircraft is a regional plane capable of flying coast to coast but no more. Let's leave it for thar purpose and leave the long haul flights to the big Boys. Doing so will keep the flying public safe and less stressed. Flying for 8+ hours on a slower moving cramped aircraft is going to cause tension which will lead to passengers acting in an uncouth manner to flight staff and fellow customers. We know executives love these economical cramped planes because they pad their already fat wallets. Plus they fly on private jets which is another obnoxious issue.

    1. Teejay Guest

      @Big Ed. "Single isle planes are not supposed to travel as far as widebody planes."

      Hmmm, up until the early 70's there were no widebodies flying long haul. Think 707, DC-8, Comet, Constellation, Stratocruiser, DC-7...

  5. Larry Prchival Guest

    Who cares about passenger comfort? The US carriers are now essentially govt run like other countries and they have turned the airlines into greyhound and amtrak in the air. The solution will be return air travel to the luxury mode of transportation it used to be. This will be through private jet services, supersonic flight, and maybe even suborbital rocket transportation. But dont expect regular jet service to get any better.

  6. Alec C Guest

    Obviously, the airlines will try to renegotiate. Airbus may offer some price reduction, depending on how close they cut the original price. But they are likely to tough it out, offering only to waive or reduce cancellation fees. Those who ordered it have nowhere else to go for the same range/capacity. As the article says, they may offer a very advantageous upgrade to A330. But otherwise airlines will be offered a take it or leave...

    Obviously, the airlines will try to renegotiate. Airbus may offer some price reduction, depending on how close they cut the original price. But they are likely to tough it out, offering only to waive or reduce cancellation fees. Those who ordered it have nowhere else to go for the same range/capacity. As the article says, they may offer a very advantageous upgrade to A330. But otherwise airlines will be offered a take it or leave it. With current backlogs, Airbus will be unfazed by leave it.

  7. FlyerDon Guest

    If this variant has the same wing as the current 321 and operates at a higher gross weight, this will not be a very good plane to cross the North Atlantic in, especially in the winter. Add to that a system that will need to constantly calculate and adjust the CG as fuel is pumped from the tail to the wings and I’m having A300-600 flashbacks. No Thanks.

    1. Tim Dunn Diamond

      yep. same wing so it will cruise much lower and slower than widebodies. Will cost as much as 30 minutes more to cross the Atlantic.

    2. Tim Dunn Diamond

      and the slower speed just increases crew costs

  8. William Guest

    I will go out of my way to avoid long haul trips on a narrow body. 3 hours is max to fly on a bug. More than that and it will need to be a proper plane.

  9. Realist Guest

    It is good news - long haul on a narrow body is a joke anyway, nobody would want to do that given a choice.

  10. Ian Guest

    VC10 had a range just over 5000 nautical miles and DC8-62 had a range of 5200 nautical miles, so certainly not the longest range narrow body ever.

  11. Markj Guest

    Between this and the new pilot contracts in the USA you have to wonder if flying the A321XLR will ever be profitable.

    1. Tim Dunn Diamond

      thank you. Some people understand that jumping on the newest shiny thing might not make financial sense.
      There is a reason why even the 757 never was used that extensively over the Atlantic compared to widebodies and those reasons aren't that much different.
      And people don't understand how much better engine technology is on widebodies. The A330-900 and 787-9 burn less fuel per mile than the 767-300ER. A big part of the reason...

      thank you. Some people understand that jumping on the newest shiny thing might not make financial sense.
      There is a reason why even the 757 never was used that extensively over the Atlantic compared to widebodies and those reasons aren't that much different.
      And people don't understand how much better engine technology is on widebodies. The A330-900 and 787-9 burn less fuel per mile than the 767-300ER. A big part of the reason why Airbus and Boeing won't develop a new small widebody is because the costs to operate a large widebody are not much more than a smaller widebody. It will take a whole new generation of new engine and airframe technology to make a small widebody work.
      Just as the 180-200 seat narrowbody (A321NEO and B737 MAX9/10 is becoming the new "standard size" for US carriers or, in AA's case just about that many seats on a MAX8) so is the 260-280 seat widebody becoming the new widebody "standard size."
      If routes don't work w/ that size aircraft, then they need to be served through partner hubs or just not served at all

  12. Mantis Guest

    More narrowbodies flying long thin routes, more pilots required pp, where will they come from? There's a shortage already, and with their increased demands for pay, higher pp fuel costs, and of course the upfront capital costs, and there goes the cost advantage of flying these long thin routes. Everyone wrote off the 777X as a dud and XLR as the future, but I'm not so sure.

  13. Michael Guest

    I would go out of my way to fly a more comfortable wide body on a long flight. A long flight on a tiny plane is just not great for regular travel.

  14. Heikki guest Guest

    A321 xlr longest range narrowbody! No it would be the Douglas Dc8-62/72

  15. Austin Guest

    Reminds me a bit of the MD-11. It had all of these amazing stats, then it found out it couldn't actually achieve it. I wouldn't be surprised if one or two airlines just cancel the order, just like the MD-11. Although granted this isn't as huge of a discrepancy as that plane.

  16. Bob Brown Guest

    Some of the estimates coming from the FAA is a reduction in range of 15-20% due to the structural and system change to the 321-XLR. The FAA has stated it will put the 321-XLR under the same scrutiny as the 737 MAX and the 777-X’s. Some of the speculation on the range once certified would put the 321-XLR close to the 321-NEO’s, and limit the city pairs the XLR could serve. Time will tell.

  17. Ross Guest

    So reduce the weight by removing a row of seats and giving long-range passengers the kind of long-range legroom that might prevent blood clots. Maybe also change out another row to three lie-flat seats without the pampering. Take-off weight is as take-off weight does.

    1. Mantis Guest

      When you have your own non-profit airline, then go for it.

  18. Azamaraal Diamond

    I was never a fan of the 757 but everyone insists it was the best for its purpose.
    The 747 was the best for its purpose until the advent of the A380 and we all know how that went. Everyone wanted the "Whale" even though when Boeing redesigned the wings and engines it made the 747-8 much better at what it did.
    What I don't understand is why Boeing didn't take the 757...

    I was never a fan of the 757 but everyone insists it was the best for its purpose.
    The 747 was the best for its purpose until the advent of the A380 and we all know how that went. Everyone wanted the "Whale" even though when Boeing redesigned the wings and engines it made the 747-8 much better at what it did.
    What I don't understand is why Boeing didn't take the 757 frame, redesign the wings for lower drag, offer more fuel efficient engines, glassify the cockpit and continue the model? Hopefully they are doing something behind closed doors.
    People still comment about the 737X killing hundreds of people but are totally unaware of all those passengers sacrificed while Airbus was "perfecting" fly by wire. Mainly because nobody was flying A-series in the US I guess.

    1. ConcordeBoy Diamond

      What I don't understand is why Boeing didn't take the 757 frame, redesign the wings for lower drag, offer more fuel efficient engines, glassify the cockpit and continue the model?

      You mean, ASIDE from the fact that it's been explained a million times by a thousand different people/sites, right?

      ....in short: Boeing offered, almost no one wanted, Boeing shut down the line. Pretty straightforward really.

      They spent five years trying to find sufficient customers...

      What I don't understand is why Boeing didn't take the 757 frame, redesign the wings for lower drag, offer more fuel efficient engines, glassify the cockpit and continue the model?

      You mean, ASIDE from the fact that it's been explained a million times by a thousand different people/sites, right?

      ....in short: Boeing offered, almost no one wanted, Boeing shut down the line. Pretty straightforward really.

      They spent five years trying to find sufficient customers to support a minimum 30 orders to launch an such a model, and they got a grand total of 7 from 2 customers.

    2. Azamaraal Diamond

      I was inquiring about 757.

      How many customers of the Whale perhaps realize now that they made a mistake re 747-8? Obviously Emirates made a significant decision that they only realized lately wasn't so smart when they declined to keep A380 in production.

  19. Brandon Biden Guest

    I said 3 years, during its early consideration, that landing on the center fuel tank was a bad idea, eigh long planes, tail strikes....but they wanted the order book....

    1. ConcordeBoy Diamond

      It's not like this is a new concept, both in general and to Airbus itself; the A340-500 faced similar scrutiny/fixes with its RCT. In fact, it's sorta surprising that they're facing this still, after that experience.

  20. ConcordeBoy Diamond

    and the plan is for this to be the longest range narrow body aircraft ever

    How could that have been "the plan," when the B707-320B was a narrowbody offering 5,000nm+ range more than a half-century ago?

  21. Frederik Guest

    The Airbus A380 was 20 years too late. The 757 was 30 years too early. There is nothing that would match a new 757 size plane currently on the market, it is why they are flying at 30 plus years of age while much younger quadjets are being broken up.

    1. Leigh Guest

      I think you win the comments.

      Boeing or Airbus needs to plan the NMA.

  22. Malky Guest

    Still an 'overstretched' single aisle. Long distance = long flights= passenger comfortless.

  23. Lee Guest

    The B737 MAX 7 has a range of 3800 NM. Differing pax capacities. But, humorous nonetheless.

  24. RF Diamond

    Safety should not be compromised so Airbus should made the necessary modifications and see if they can engineer another way to get more range. If not, it's not the end of the world. Passengers prefer a widebody cabin anyways especially for longer flights.

  25. Syd Guest

    Yeah, doesn't really make life easier for Boeing. -9 is still at only 3300 nmi, and -10 at 3100.
    I do think Boeing can squeeze out an additional say 500 nmi following some mods over the next few years, but at 3800 and 3600 respectively it's still a far cry from the reduced 4500 nmi for XLR.

    "Hey Bill you remember where I stored those 757 sketches?"

  26. Tim Dunn Diamond

    yes, airplane manufacturers guarantee certain performance and so Airbus is likely going to face having some airlines reject their XLR orders or the airlines might be allowed to seek cash competition.
    Given that all narrowbodies including the A320NEO family are sold out for the remainder of the decade, Airbus can easily replace the orders although the XLR is the most expensive narrowbody on the market so they will lose some revenue if airlines downgrade.

    ...

    yes, airplane manufacturers guarantee certain performance and so Airbus is likely going to face having some airlines reject their XLR orders or the airlines might be allowed to seek cash competition.
    Given that all narrowbodies including the A320NEO family are sold out for the remainder of the decade, Airbus can easily replace the orders although the XLR is the most expensive narrowbody on the market so they will lose some revenue if airlines downgrade.

    It also isn't a surprise that they are trying to sell A330NEOs since that airframe isn't selling well but also cost very little (comparatively) for Airbus to develop it from the A330CEO.

    For airlines like AA and UA that were heavily counting on the A321XLR to replace widebodies to Europe esp. in the winter, the A321XLR might not be any better solution than the 757.

    Perhaps Delta knew this plane wasn't going to deliver what it promised so it went w/ the A330NEO for which it is probably paying less per seat for than the A321XLR.

    1. OCTinPHL Diamond

      Tim: “Perhaps Delta knew this plane wasn't going to deliver what it promised so it went w/ the A330NEO for which it is probably paying less per seat for than the A321XLR.”

      C’mon - book price of a 330-900 is ~$295 mil. Airbus hasn’t released the price of a 321XLR, but it is likely under $200 mil. Even if Delta is getting a good deal on the 330-900s it is still probably paying more per...

      Tim: “Perhaps Delta knew this plane wasn't going to deliver what it promised so it went w/ the A330NEO for which it is probably paying less per seat for than the A321XLR.”

      C’mon - book price of a 330-900 is ~$295 mil. Airbus hasn’t released the price of a 321XLR, but it is likely under $200 mil. Even if Delta is getting a good deal on the 330-900s it is still probably paying more per seat. Perhaps not significantly more, but likely more.

      And it’s not like AA and UA plan on replacing all 787 routes with 321XLR’s - likely mostly 757 routes (which AA stopped flying when it retired the the 767s/757s during the pandemic. And it is using ~20 of the 321LXLR frames to replace the 321Ts.

      Finally, it will be interesting to see what an estimated reduction of 200 nautical miles means for flights from the East Coast - flights to Bologna might be OK, but not Dubrovnik? I don’t know…

    2. Roberto Guest

      “ Perhaps Delta knew this plane wasn't going to deliver what it promised so it went w/ the A330NEO for which it is probably paying less per seat for than the A321XLR.”

      This is why nobody likes you.

    3. Tim Dunn Diamond

      because I am right?

      unlike the person above you, I can do math and even at list prices know that Airbus is heavily discounting the A330NEO but not the A321XLR which sells very well.
      The A321XLR holds about half of the passengers in a longhaul international configuration as an A330NEO.

      My statement is very likely true...DL is probably paying less PER SEAT for the A330NEO - which has far more range, carries cargo, and...

      because I am right?

      unlike the person above you, I can do math and even at list prices know that Airbus is heavily discounting the A330NEO but not the A321XLR which sells very well.
      The A321XLR holds about half of the passengers in a longhaul international configuration as an A330NEO.

      My statement is very likely true...DL is probably paying less PER SEAT for the A330NEO - which has far more range, carries cargo, and has lower operating costs PER SEAT than the A321XLR.

      I don't come on this or any other site to win friends. I come here to point out legitimate facts.

      The A321XLR or narrowbody longhaul aircraft are not the end-all that alot of people and a few airlines think they will be.

    4. OCTinPHL Diamond

      Huh? Where is “my math” wrong? I gave estimates, and my opinion. Even if the 330neo is discounted (even “heavily”) you are assuming no discount on the 321XLR - and we both know airlines don’t pay book price.

      *This* is why people don’t like you. Resorting to attacking the person rather than stating an opinion (which you always say are “facts”).

    5. OCTinPHL Diamond

      That is airlines don’t pay book for price for just about any place. Especially when ordering 50 (like AA).

    6. Roberto Guest

      THEY ARE COMPLETELY PAYING LESS PER SEAT. You're comparing an A330 to an A321 though! Are you high?! If AA or UA wanted a widebody replacement, they would have ordered WIDEBODY aircraft. They're replacing aging 757's on THIN TATL routes. What makes more sense on JFK-SNN? An A339 or an A3XLR? You'll next-level delusional if you think it's the 339..... I cannot wait until AA announces thin MIA-SSA/REC/CNF and completely walks away with South America!

      ...

      THEY ARE COMPLETELY PAYING LESS PER SEAT. You're comparing an A330 to an A321 though! Are you high?! If AA or UA wanted a widebody replacement, they would have ordered WIDEBODY aircraft. They're replacing aging 757's on THIN TATL routes. What makes more sense on JFK-SNN? An A339 or an A3XLR? You'll next-level delusional if you think it's the 339..... I cannot wait until AA announces thin MIA-SSA/REC/CNF and completely walks away with South America!

      Besides, in 2 years time when DL finally orders the XLR, you'll praises it as the best thing since sliced bread.

    7. Tim Dunn Diamond

      first, there are a number of analysts that believe that Delta has paid as little as $100 million for each A330-900 and other airlines might have paid not much more for for the B787-8 or -9.
      There is no way that the A321XLR costs less per seat than the A330-900 or even deeply discounted B787s.
      Fuel burn, pilot costs and a whole lot of other facts cost more PER SEAT on narrowbody aircraft...

      first, there are a number of analysts that believe that Delta has paid as little as $100 million for each A330-900 and other airlines might have paid not much more for for the B787-8 or -9.
      There is no way that the A321XLR costs less per seat than the A330-900 or even deeply discounted B787s.
      Fuel burn, pilot costs and a whole lot of other facts cost more PER SEAT on narrowbody aircraft than on widebodies.

      The A321 on longhaul transatlantic routes might work for deep discount airlines but they won't work at legacy carrier labor rates on flights over 8 hours.

      You can argue and stomp your feet all you want but the data is clear. Airlines like AA and UA that think they will gain an advantage from using A321XLRs over the Atlantic and will find that it actually costs them more than using widebodies to funnel passengers into their joint venture partner hubs.

      But let's face it - Delta has been far more profitable flying international routes than American or United for years. And they decided the A321 economics don't work on 8 hour plus flights.

    8. Roberto Guest

      “ What makes more sense on JFK-SNN? An A339 or an A3XLR? You're next-level delusional if you think it's the 339..... ”

      I rest my case that you danced around about answering this question and added nothing but options/conjecture.

    9. Tim Dunn Diamond

      first, neither JFK-SNN or SNN-JFK requires a 321XLR. It is easily less than 8 hours so does not need an augmented crew.
      B6 is using the A321LR - not the XLR - on a number of flights to western Europe so the LR - which is far cheaper than the XLR - is easily capable of flights, even if some of B6's do require an augmented crew.

      And, again, the data, which you clearly...

      first, neither JFK-SNN or SNN-JFK requires a 321XLR. It is easily less than 8 hours so does not need an augmented crew.
      B6 is using the A321LR - not the XLR - on a number of flights to western Europe so the LR - which is far cheaper than the XLR - is easily capable of flights, even if some of B6's do require an augmented crew.

      And, again, the data, which you clearly don't know, provides the costs to operate the A321NEO on 8 plus hour flights at AA and UA costs and it will simply be more expensive per seat than any widebody in any US carrier's fleet of new generation aircraft.

      add in that the XLR won't do near as much as some people thought - it might not be good for much more than western continental Europe to NYC in the winter, no different than the 757, and its shine will come off pretty quick.

    10. Roberto Guest

      Hahahaha, you still haven’t answered the question!

    11. BenjaminGuttery Diamond

      TIM DUNN: I really would like to know. Did You used to work for Delta? Is Ypur 401K tied up in their stock price? What is the deal. I get that your a fan boy and enthusiast.. but I don't get the rabidness you display, the blind loyalty, and the rude attacks You spew at folks often. Literally if someone 1) Asks a Question 2) Shares their honest Opinion 3) Has any knowledge that counters Your point(s) You attack them. No one likes a know it all.

    12. Tim Dunn Diamond

      I know where to find data about the airline industry and it is all public. People are free to offer their opinion but when they persist in arguing opinions compared to facts that I have presented, you and they should understand that my original statement is correct: Delta paid less PER SEAT for A330-900s than AA or UA are paying for A321XLRs.
      When Delta or any airline makes statements, as it has about narrowbody...

      I know where to find data about the airline industry and it is all public. People are free to offer their opinion but when they persist in arguing opinions compared to facts that I have presented, you and they should understand that my original statement is correct: Delta paid less PER SEAT for A330-900s than AA or UA are paying for A321XLRs.
      When Delta or any airline makes statements, as it has about narrowbody transatlantic operations, it isn't hard to verify if what they are saying is true or not.
      As hard as it is for you or anyone to grasp, Delta is consistently the most profitable and highest valued airline in the world for very good reasons - they run the best business in the global airline industry.
      The blind loyalty comes from people that are convinced of a strategy just because brand X or Y does it. If the A321XLR had such economic potential better than widebodies, why do you not think it would have been adapted by multiple global airlines? AA and UA are two of the few large global airlines that operate widebodies that also intend to use the A321XLR for 8 plus hour narrowbody flights. THAT should tell you something. BA, LH, JL, KE etc are aligned w/ DL's strategy which makes AA and UA the exception and not the other way around.

    13. KS Guest

      Agreed. What a classic Tim Dunn’s way of trying to defend his dear DL’s folly of not having ordered the A321XLR. I mean it is so darn obvious what he’s trying to accomplish…

    14. Tim Dunn Diamond

      so do you work for AA or UA?
      It should be obvious that the A321NEO is a highly popular plane but the A321XLR far less so.
      Do you realize that there are over 4000 A321NEOs but less than 1/10 of that number for XLRs and even less of the LR?

      There are far more airlines that operate or have ordered the A320NEO family than have ordered the XLR.

      Very few airlines -...

      so do you work for AA or UA?
      It should be obvious that the A321NEO is a highly popular plane but the A321XLR far less so.
      Do you realize that there are over 4000 A321NEOs but less than 1/10 of that number for XLRs and even less of the LR?

      There are far more airlines that operate or have ordered the A320NEO family than have ordered the XLR.

      Very few airlines - with AA and UA being the exception, not the norm - see the value of a narrowbody capable of 10 hour flights.

      DL is much more like the world's largest global airlines in its fleet choices.

      And Delta is likely headed for an A321NEO fleet of about 225 aircraft - which will make them one of the largest operators of the type. DL also is on its way to be becoming one of Airbus' largest customers as well as one of the largest operators of both Airbus narrowbodies and widebodies with a fleet of 125 A330s and A350s and even more expected to be ordered.
      If Delta thought there was value in ordering a long range narrowbody, they would have done so and Airbus would have given them the best price.

    15. Roberto Guest

      Hahaha, he must own Delta & Airbus stock!

      Tim Dunn’s Predictions:
      -A35K order before the Paris air show.
      -DL would win the HND slot allocation.
      -DL would be granted additional out-of-perimeter slots at DCA.

      0-3! I’ll gladly add the “225 A321NEO prediction to the list! If/When DL gets the 35K, I’m sure they’ll use it on the PDX-HND route since iT hAs ThE lOwEsT sEaT CoSt! Forget load factors, am I right?!

    16. DCharlie Guest

      Just curious about the intentional capitalisation of some of the letters in the second to last sentence. Are they supposed to spell out or mean something?

  27. tom Guest

    Good, much prefer 767 or 330 for these sort of flights
    A321 and 737 for these long range flights is a much worse pax experience especially in Y

    1. Nb Guest

      31” in economy is bad in any type of aircraft :)

    2. BenjaminGuttery Diamond

      Seat width, elbow room, and walk around space to stretch matter too. Not all seat pitches are created equally.

    3. VanniG Guest

      The seat-pitch doesn't mean much without an indication of what the actual seat looks like. It is the distance between one point of the seat and the corresponding point on the seat in the row ahead. The thickness of the seat back influences perception of comfort enormously.

    4. VanniG Guest

      But these smaller aircraft make so many long, thin routes economically viable.
      If you prefer flying on bigger aircraft with one more connection, I am sure you won't have a problem choosing an itinerary that will suit your taste.

    5. Hoosier in Paradise Member

      Yes, and the new routes can be justified from medium-sized airports/cities/regions.

  28. AdamH Diamond

    It's crazy to me that the future is more flights on smaller planes like this. I know it can potentially be good for competition but it makes no sense for so many congested airports and flight paths that only buckle more on high frequency, lower occupancy schedules.

    1. Never In Doubt Guest

      Did you whine the same way when A350s and B787s arrived to allow long distance flights with smaller loads and therefore more cities than A340s and B777/747s?

    2. OCTinPHL Diamond

      1. AA is using the 321XLR’s on order to replace the 321T’s. Many airlines are planning on using them for 757 replacements.

      2. Airports that are already congested (AMS, or LHR for instance) are more likely to have wide bodies as the predominant transatlantic / transpacific plane type. Of course B6 is an exception. But all in all, the 321XLR is not going to be a major factor in whether an airport is congested or...

      1. AA is using the 321XLR’s on order to replace the 321T’s. Many airlines are planning on using them for 757 replacements.

      2. Airports that are already congested (AMS, or LHR for instance) are more likely to have wide bodies as the predominant transatlantic / transpacific plane type. Of course B6 is an exception. But all in all, the 321XLR is not going to be a major factor in whether an airport is congested or not. Congested airports already are congested, and the 321XLR hasn’t started flying yet.

    3. Bobo Bolinski Guest

      Agree 100%. 8 hours in a narrow-body, single-aisle aircraft...that's nothing to celebrate. Narrow seats, limited recline, no lay-flat premium cabins,,,what's to celebrate there? Unless you're a corporate bean-counter, this is exactly what I do NOT want. What next, 737MAXes to Australia? Hoo-frcking-ray (NOT!). Feh!

    4. Chris S Guest

      The seats will be wider than those found on most 777s and 787s. And many airlines have announced lie-flat seats up front.

    5. OCTinPHL Diamond

      Not sure about UA, but AA is installing lay flats in its 321XLRs. A single aisle is still not as great as a wide-body, but better than nothing.

    6. ConcordeBoy Diamond

      Narrow seats, limited recline, no lay-flat premium cabins

      What on Earth are you talking about?

      First, the coach seat width is going to be the same (A33X, A34X) or wider (77W) than several widebody offerings, and recline is 100% up to the operator, not the aircraft type.

      Second, there's nothing preventing airlines from placing lie-flats in narrowbodies... JetBlue, COPA, FlyDubai, Qatar, Singapore, etc are already doing that.

      Why do you feel the need to...

      Narrow seats, limited recline, no lay-flat premium cabins

      What on Earth are you talking about?

      First, the coach seat width is going to be the same (A33X, A34X) or wider (77W) than several widebody offerings, and recline is 100% up to the operator, not the aircraft type.

      Second, there's nothing preventing airlines from placing lie-flats in narrowbodies... JetBlue, COPA, FlyDubai, Qatar, Singapore, etc are already doing that.

      Why do you feel the need to just blatantly make things up?

    7. Oriflamme Guest

      @Bobo Bolinski the A320 series can accommodate some of the widest economy seats in the skies and plenty of airlines have lie flat seats on narrowbody aircraft already. Indeed several seat manufacturers offer lie flat, all aisle access doored seats designed specifically for narrowbody aircraft; the new Air France A350 business seat is a modified version of one of them, curiously enough. I doubt the seat pitch on these aircraft will be any different from...

      @Bobo Bolinski the A320 series can accommodate some of the widest economy seats in the skies and plenty of airlines have lie flat seats on narrowbody aircraft already. Indeed several seat manufacturers offer lie flat, all aisle access doored seats designed specifically for narrowbody aircraft; the new Air France A350 business seat is a modified version of one of them, curiously enough. I doubt the seat pitch on these aircraft will be any different from on a widebody.

      While I’d prefer to travel on a widebody aircraft I would happily fly on a narrowbody with equivalent seat comfort if it allowed me to reach my destination non-stop, which is really the selling point here I think.

  29. Brian Guest

    Yet another good example of how regulators are always going to stand in the way of innovation.
    The only for us to achieve true innovation in the aviation space is to take the regulators out of the pictures. The manufacturers know what's truly best -- the are the ones with the technical talent after all.
    Hard to expect anyone in the EASA with the same level of competency. After all, they are just a liability and obstacle when it comes to true innovation.

    1. OCTinPHL Diamond

      Brian, would you fly on airline like PIA? Because that is what you are proposing.

      “The manufacturers know what's truly best” - yeah, how did that turn out for the 737MAX?

    2. Parnel Guest

      Sure Boeing self certified the 737 how did that work out?

    3. Mark P Guest

      Contender for one of the worst takes of the year, especially after the Boeing self-regulation issues that killed hundreds of people.

    4. CSR 2.0 Guest

      With a comment like this, you'd think this guy has Boeing and OceanGate on his resume.

    5. Never In Doubt Guest

      Sarcasm or stupid?

      Please clarify.

    6. ConcordeBoy Diamond

      Wishing this were sarcasm, but considering how poorly executed it is, the question's a bit of a wash either way. :(

      This comment has Rush Stockton vibes

      Not only vibes... that's EXACTLY what he said. And he's now about the consistency of toothpaste.

      It's like the "GOverNmEnt rEgULaTiON iZ bAd" people never learn, even when the results of such are right in front of their face.

  30. Mitch Guest

    I would look to the MD-11 as to how this affect existing orders. It didn’t live up to its advertised performance either

    1. RaflW Guest

      The MD-11 went into service in 1990, five years after the 767 was granted 120 min ETOPS. And American started flying 767s DFW-HNL by 1989.
      I think two-engine efficiency played a bigger factor in the lackluster sales of the MDs.

    2. Shangster11 Guest

      Not really. SQ's cancellation of their MD-11 order due to the performance issue essentially killed it - SQ had such an industry sway in aircraft orders at the time; they replaced the order with A340 instead of twins. MD-11's issues led to further unfortunate technical decisions (e.g. smaller than ideal stabilizers) in efforts to rectify the performance.

Featured Comments Most helpful comments ( as chosen by the OMAAT community ).

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Mark P Guest

Contender for one of the worst takes of the year, especially after the Boeing self-regulation issues that killed hundreds of people.

8
OCTinPHL Diamond

Brian, would you fly on airline like PIA? Because that is what you are proposing. “The manufacturers know what's truly best” - yeah, how did that turn out for the 737MAX?

8
Ale Guest

This comment has Rush Stockton vibes

6
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