In 2021, manufacturers were forced to slow down production at most of their sites amid the complications of the COVID-19 pandemic. Despite all these widespread setbacks, Airbus has said that it is on course to have its much-anticipated A321XLR ready to enter service by 2023.
Earlier this spring, the European-based manufacturer confirmed that it is gearing up for large production increases. By the middle of the 2021s, it might be producing up to 75 A320 family aircraft per month.
Airbus has shown that it is committed, ready, and on the right track to meet its set goals. The firm’s subsidiary, STELIA Aerospace, delivered six fuselage segments to Saint-Nazaire on July 1. Today, Airbus will have these assembled and then fitted with system equipment and flight test instruments by Q3 2021.
STELIA is a crucial department, working on various important projects across this aircraft, including aerostructures and seats. It was created in January 2015 after the merger of two Airbus units, SOGERMA and Aerolia.
The head of the A321XLR Programme Development Airframe Programme, Martin Schnoor, said that the delivery of the fuselage is a major milestone for the program. In general, it gives a lot of confidence that Airbus is now on track for an introduction of the Jet in the coming two years.
A321XLR project management, Airbus Saint-Nazaire, Sébastien Verger, shared a statement:
“We were able to anticipate the structural and systems assembly phases of this first fuselage with our full-length physical mockup allowing us to test in advance the A321XLR’s structural and systems modifications and to prepare the assembly phases.”
A321XLR development project manager for Airbus, Paul Molitor, adds the following about the ongoing production:
“We are working on a collaborative “plateau” with Manufacturing Engineering, Technical coordination, Logistics, Quality, and dedicated operators. A dedicated Launch team is following this first aircraft at each step of production.”
Excitement Across The Sector
This new jet will enable airlines to reach far distances while reducing emissions. Airbus said that it has a range of around 4,700 NM (8,700 km) and up to 30% lower fuel burn and carbon emissions per seat when compared with previous generation planes.
The A321XLR opens up many opportunities in the market. For example, Air Seychelles has said that the new plane will allow the airline to offer nonstop flights to West Africa and Europe with lower risk compared to a widebody aircraft. It is not just the national carriers that are looking at the type. Companies like La Compagnie are also evaluating the narrowbody for their frequent operations.
Major airlines are already ordering the Airbus A321XLR. United Airlines, Frontier, American Airlines, and JetBlue all operating within the US make up the largest orders by nation for the aircraft.