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LEVEL considers Airbus A321XLR for its long-haul routes

Paris, France - Vincent Hodder, chief executive of the IAG subsidiary LEVEL, said during his visit to Paris that his company is considering the Airbus's new single-aisle jetliner A321XLR, which is currently under development.

Airbus has been working on an extra long range A320neo variant with a capacity of 200 to 250 seats. The flight range of the aircraft is supposed to be even greater than that of the A321LR which is attracting the interest of airlines since it entered into service.

Last year, IAG boss Willie Walsh said that the A321LR was being considered for the long-haul low-cost Group airline LEVEL. If launched, the Group will also consider the A321XLR for the airline's future long-haul routes, according to Vincent Hodder.

"No decision is made, but we are studying both planes. The A321XLR is a monster. Its range is great," Hodder told French media on May 7 during the sidelines of a press conference announcing the arrival of a third Airbus A330-200 in Paris in September.

With the arrival of new A330-200, LEVEL will launch the Orly-Las Vegas route at the end of October, and then a daily flight to Guadeloupe and six weekly flights to Martinique.

LEVEL's chief executive says that the A321XLR could carry out flights of 10 hours, which would theoretically cover the entire network provided today by Level from Paris to New York, Las Vegas, Montreal, Fort of France, and Pointe-à-Pitre.

Such a flight time is not extraordinary for a widebody aircraft. While smaller aircraft tend to have higher base costs by nature than larger aircraft, the A321XLR would present for LEVEL a base cost similar to that of a large aircraft such as the A330-200 with a lower order price almost by half, said Hodder.

The price for the Airbus A321XLR is not known yet, but an A321LR, for instance, is already half price of an A330-200 ($114 million against $238 million at list prices).

Airbus A321XLR, therefore, is an ideal aircraft for low-cost long-haul flights, according to Hodder.

Last year in November, Gilles Ringwald, Air Transat's Vice President of Sales, also said that the Canadian carrier was studying the A321XLR. The aircraft takes the attention of Air Transat because it would allow the Canadian operator to connect Paris to Vancouver.

On May 7, Air Transat CEO Jean-Marc Eustache told Bloomberg that they were negotiating with Airbus for orders for both A321LR and XLR variants.

This year in February, Reuters reported that Airbus was planning to launch the A321XLR program in mid-2019 during the Paris Air Show.