Airbus A321XLR makes its first flight


The first A321XLR  has successfully made its first flight.

Test aircraft MSN 11000 took off from Hamburg-Finkenwerder Airport yesterday for a a test flight which lasted approximately four hours and 35 minutes .

The aircraft’s crew consisted of experimental test pilots Thierry Diez and Gabriel Diaz de Villegas Giron, as well as test engineers Frank Hohmeister, Philippe Pupin and Mehdi Zeddoun.

During the flight, the crew tested the aircraft’s flight controls, engines and main systems, including flight envelope protections, both at high and low speed.

Philippe Mhun, Airbus EVP Programmes and Services stated: “This is a major milestone for the A320 Family and its customers worldwide. With the A321XLR coming into service, airlines will be able to offer long-haul comfort on a single aisle aircraft, thanks to its unique Airspace cabin. The A321XLR will open new routes with unbeatable economics and environmental performance.”

The aircraft is expected to enter into service early 2024.

The A321XLR (Xtra Long Range) is a variant of the A320neo with an extended range of  8,700km (5,400 miles) thanks to a a new fuel tank located at the back of the aircraft and modified landing gear to support its increased weight.

The twinjet aircraft can fly 15% further than the current longest-range A320 variant, the A321LR, which has a range of 7,400km (4,600 miles).

An optimized wing trailing-edge flap configuration has also been added to the -XLR to preserve the same takeoff performance and engine thrust requirements as the current A321neo, which is powered by CFM International Leap-1A or Pratt & Whitney PW1100G engines. MSN 11000 is powered by two CFM Leap engines.

The improvements result in a 30% lower fuel burn per seat than previous-generation aircraft, Airbus claims, while opening up new routes such as India to Europe or China to Australia.

By the end of May 2022, the A320neo Family has accumulated over 8,000 orders from over 130 customers worldwide. A321XLR orders stood at more than 500 from over 20 customers.

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About Author


Ben has worked as a journalist and editor, covering technology, engineering and industry for the last 20 years. Initially writing about subjects from nuclear submarines to autonomous cars to future design and manufacturing technologies, he was editor of a leading UK-based engineering magazine before becoming editor of Aerospace Testing in 2017.

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