Lisbon, Portugal - TAP Air Portugal will convert some of its Airbus A321LRs on order to the manufacturer's newly launched extra-long-range single-aisle jet A321XLR.
The European manufacturer announced the A321XLR program during the Paris Air Show last month. The aircraft had been able to take the attention of the airline operators and accumulated more than 240 order commitments including conversions from customers around the world.
TAP Air Portugal said the conversion is a necessity for the company to add new routes to the existing network of the airline when taking into account the longer flight range of the aircraft.
TAP currently has two Airbus A321LR in its fleet and further 12 copies on order. The Portuguese carrier did not comment as to how many of them would be converted. The airline deployed the first A321LR on one of its transatlantic routes between Porto-Francisco Sa Carneiro and Newark Liberty Airports with daily rotation.
The A321XLR can fly 600 nautical miles further than the A321LR. Thus, the Portuguese flag carrier will be able to launch new routes to the Americas thanks to the extended range of the A321neo variant.
The launch of the A321XLR program is seen as a tactical move by the European aircraft manufacturer to interrupt Boeing’s plans to introduce an all-new 220-270-seater New Midsize Airplane (NMA) dubbed the 797.
With the 797, Boeing targets the airlines with large 757 and 767 fleets that are close to the end of their life spans.