Airbus used the first day of the Paris Air Show at Le Bourget Field to launch the A321XLR, the longest-range member of the A320 family with a range of 4,700 nm. The 15% range increase over the A321LR will be accomplished by adding a permanent Rear Center Tank (RCT) for additional fuel capacity, modifying the landing gear to allow for an increased MGTOW, and tweaking the wing trailing-edge flap configuration.
The re-engined A321neo, which includes the A321XLR, competes against the 737 MAX 10 as a replacement for Boeing's 757-200. The 737 MAX 10, largest member of Boeing's 737 MAX family, was launched two years ago at the Paris Air Show with 240 orders. United ordered 100 and remains the largest customer for the model.
United currently operates 171 A320-family aircraft, though the last ones acquired new from Airbus were delivered prior to the merger with Continental. Recent additions have been second-hand aircraft, with more on the way. United also operates 77 Boeing 757s (including 56 examples of the 757-200, similar in size to the A321XLR and 737 MAX 10) plus various models of the Boeing 737.
United's only current orders with Airbus are for the A350, but the ongoing grounding of the 737 MAX combined with the greater range of the A321XLR may provide Airbus with an opportunity. From Newark, United currently flies just one route with the 757-200 that exceeds the range of the 737 MAX 10 (to Stockholm), but flew the 757 to other destinations deeper into Europe until unusually strong headwinds in December 2011 caused many fuel diversions.
Today's Featured Map shows United's current 757-200 routes from Newark in dark blue, with non-Newark 757-200 routes in teal. European cities served from Newark in December 2011 but no longer served with the 757 are shown in red. Also shown is the still-air range (from Newark) of the 737 MAX 10 (3,300 nm) and the A321XLR (4,700 nm). The A321XLR could easily fly any of these current and former 757-200 routes from Newark. The range charts suggest that even non-stops to Hawaii are possible though headwinds and ETOPS fuel reserves for the westbound flights would likely render these routes infeasible.
Information on this site may not be accurate or current and is not valid for flight planning or navigation. No warranty of fitness for any purpose is made or implied. Flight planning and navigation should only be done using official charts.
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Karl L. Swartz.
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