Airbus’ first A321LR (Long Range) has accomplished its maiden flight Wednesday following a two-hour-and-36-minute mission. The new aircraft will be assembled at the company’s final assembly line in Mobile starting in 2019.
The aircraft, powered by CFM Leap-1A engines, is now set to undergo a nearly 100-hour flight test program, including trans-Atlantic missions. Entry into service is targeted for the end of this year.
The aircraft’s crew comprised experimental test pilots Yann Beaufils and Peter Lofts, as well as flight test engineers Frank Hohmeister, Jim Fawcett and Cedric Favrichon and cabin specialist Alexander Gentzsch.
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.
Klaus Roewe, Head of the A320 Program said that “thanks to its outstanding performance and unbeatable efficiency, the A321LR will allow our customers to perform flights of up to 4,000nm, allowing them to open new routes – for example transatlantic – and conquer new markets.”
The A321LR features a new door configuration, enabling its operators to accommodate up to 240 passengers in Airbus’ widest Single Aisle fuselage in the sky. The new Airspace by Airbus cabin available on the A320 family additionally enhances the passengers’ unrivalled travel experience. With further options, combining an increased maximum takeoff weight of 97 tons and a third additional center fuel tank, the aircraft’s range extends to 4,000 nautical miles, allowing airlines to tap into new market opportunities.
Incorporating the latest engines, aerodynamic advances, and cabin innovations, the A321neo offers a significant reduction in fuel consumption of 20 percent by 2020. With more than 1900 orders received from over than 50 customers, to date the A321neo has captured a solid 80 percent market share, making it the true aircraft of choice in the middle of the market.