Hamburg - Airbus delivered the first A321neo Long Range (LR) to the launch customer Israeli Arkia Airlines on November 13th, but the aircraft manufacturer is already working behind the scenes for a new variant that can fly even further: the A321neo Extra Long Range (XLR).

More information about the Airbus A321XLR is now available.

Klaus Roewe, the head of A320 program at Airbus, told FlightGlobal that the XLR would have a maximum take-off weight of more than 100 tons and a flight range of 8700 kilometers (4698 nautical miles) with 206 passengers on board.

Airbus delivers the very first A321LR to Arkia Airlines

That means that the XLR can fly about 1300 kilometers (702 nautical miles) further than the current A321LR, which with trans-Atlantic flights of 7400 kilometers (3995 nautical miles) are already possible. The maximum take-off weight of the A321LR is 97 tons. So A321XLR should have more room for extra kerosene when its improved MTOW (100+ tons) is taken into account.

Roewe's statements are in line with those of Air Transat CEO Jean-Francois Lemay, who indicated in October Airbus had informed him that the A321XLR would fly smoothly from Canada to Central and Eastern Europe.

Air Transat considers Airbus A321XLR for longer routes

Roewe emphasizes that there was no decision has yet been made about the development of the Xtra Long Range variant of the aircraft. But if launched there are no plans to use new wing structures or engines. The A321XLR could use the same engines that power the A321LR.

According to analysts, if Airbus decides to develop the extra
-long-range version of the A321LR, it can discourage Boeing to launch the Boeing 797 program, the long-discussed New Mid-size Aircraft (NMA) of the U.S. manufacturer.