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Air Canada to fly 'extra long-range' Airbus A321neo, will acquire 26

March 22, 2022
3 min read
Air Canada to fly 'extra long-range' Airbus A321neo, will acquire 26
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The longest-range Airbus A321neo will be joining Air Canada's fleet.

Canada's flag carrier on Tuesday announced it was acquiring 26 A321XLRs, which will be added to its fleet starting in 2024. Of those 26 aircraft, 20 will be leased, with Air Canada purchasing six outright along with options for 14 additional aircraft.

The A321XLR, which stands for "extra long-range," has an advertised range of 4,300 nautical miles and an 11-hour endurance, though the type still hasn't flown yet. The rollout of the first aircraft is expected soon, with flight testing expected to begin this year.

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Given the aircraft's long range, Air Canada plans to operate the aircraft in a premium configuration. Its A321XLRs will be fitted with 14 lie-flat Signature Class seats and 168 economy class seats. Specifics of the seats have yet to be announced, though it's worth noting that this configuration is not particularly premium-heavy, at least as far as A321neo operators go. For example, JetBlue fits 24 Mint business class seats with direct aisle access in its A321LRs.

As is standard on Air Canada's fleet, the new A321XLRs will feature seatback entertainment and WiFi. They will also feature Airbus' signature Airspace cabin.

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Air Canada promised the aircraft would be used on transatlantic flights once it receives ETOPS clearance from the airline's regulator, Transport Canada. ETOPS is a type of certification that allows twin-engine commercial aircraft to fly long, overwater routes, clearing them to fly more than 60 minutes from a suitable diversion airport.

Air Canada did not tease specific routes it might fly with the aircraft, but, in a press release, Airbus noted that the A321XLR "will allow services from eastern Canada to a much larger selection of European destinations."

Air Canada said it will announce which engine manufacturer it is selecting at a later date. A321neos can be powered by engines manufactured by CFM International or Pratt & Whitney, and Air Canada has variants of both neo engines in its fleet of Boeing 737 MAXes and Airbus A220s.

More: It’s worth your time: A review of Air Canada business class on the Boeing 777-300ER

"Air Canada is committed to further strengthen its market-leading position, especially through investments in new technology," Air Canada CEO Michael Rousseau said in a statement. "The acquisition of the state-of-the-art Airbus A321XLR is an important element of this strategy and will drive our core priorities of elevating the customer experience, advancing our environmental goals, network expansion and increasing our overall cost efficiency.

"This order also shows that Air Canada is emerging strongly from the pandemic and is ideally positioned to grow, compete and thrive in a reshaped global aviation industry."

As of February, 25 customers had ordered 515 A321XLRs. This includes American Airlines, United Airlines, JetBlue and Qantas.

Featured image by (Photo courtesy of Airbus)
Editorial disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airline or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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Best for the well-traveled foodie
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
Go to review

Rewards Rate

4XEarn 4X Membership Rewards® Points at Restaurants, plus takeout and delivery in the U.S.
4XEarn 4X Membership Rewards® points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases, then 1X).
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    Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $4,000 on eligible purchases with your new Card within the first 6 months of Card Membership.

    60,000 bonus points
  • Annual Fee

    $250
  • Recommended Credit
    Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

    670-850
    Excellent/Good

Why We Chose It

There's a lot to love about the Amex Gold card. It's been a fan favorite during the pandemic because of its fantastic rewards rate on restaurants (that includes takeout and delivery in the U.S.!) and U.S. supermarkets. If you're hitting the skies soon, you'll also earn bonus points on travel. Paired with up to $120 in Uber Cash (for U.S. Uber rides or Uber Eats orders) and up to $120 in annual dining statement credits at eligible partners, there's no reason that the foodie shouldn't add this card to their wallet. Enrollment required.

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  • 4x on dining at restaurants and U.S. supermarkets (on the first $25,000 in purchases per calendar year; then 1x)
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Cons

  • Weak on travel outside of flights and everyday spending bonus categories
  • Not as useful for those living outside the U.S.
  • Some may have trouble using Uber/food credits
  • Few travel perks and protections
  • Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $4,000 on eligible purchases with your new Card within the first 6 months of Card Membership.
  • Earn 4X Membership Rewards® Points at Restaurants, plus takeout and delivery in the U.S., and earn 4X Membership Rewards® points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases, then 1X).
  • Earn 3X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com.
  • $120 Uber Cash on Gold: Add your Gold Card to your Uber account and each month automatically get $10 in Uber Cash for Uber Eats orders or Uber rides in the U.S., totaling up to $120 per year.
  • $120 Dining Credit: Satisfy your cravings and earn up to $10 in statement credits monthly when you pay with the American Express® Gold Card at Grubhub, The Cheesecake Factory, Goldbelly, Wine.com, Milk Bar and select Shake Shack locations. Enrollment required.
  • Choose the color that suits your style. Gold or Rose Gold.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees.
  • Annual Fee is $250.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees