Airbus Wants to Soup Up Its Long-Range A321 to Beat Boeing

Jun 18, 2018

This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.

In the rivalry between Airbus and Boeing, the competition for the most efficient 200 to 270-seat passenger aircraft is just heating up.

Industry experts predict that specific sector of the airplane manufacturing market to be worth hundreds of billions of dollars over the next two decades. So the two biggest aircraft builders are looking for any edge they can find. For Airbus, that means potentially adding further range capability to its already long-legged A321LR or “Long Range.”

The plans for the new version of the single-aisle jet, dubbed the A321XLR, show the aircraft would be able to carry additional fuel, which would reportedly be able to expand the A321LR’s maximum range of 4,600 miles.The A321LR aircraft, which will enter service this year, has already broken a distance record for single-aisle jets with a 5,500-mile flight from the Seychelles in the Indian Ocean to Toulouse, albeit without passengers. A person with inside knowledge of the plane’s development told Reuters that the new extra-long-range version would not add extra seats or focus on improving aerodynamics. The A321 currently sits a maximum of 220 passengers.

Airbus’ tinkering with the endurance and fuel efficiency of its A321 comes as Boeing prepares to launch its mid-market jet, which may be called the 797 but so far is known mostly as MOM or “middle of market”, which is likely to be specially shaped for more efficient flying. The 220-270-seat plane will probably feature the double aisle of a wide-body aircraft, but with the cargo space of a single-aisle jet.

The competition for the top spot among mid-market, long-range jets is shaping up to be a high-stakes game of chicken. Some experts say that Airbus has tried to reduce risk by ending two other A320neo long-range studies (code named the A320neoplus, and the A320neo-plus-plus) that would have included elongating the fuselage, increasing fuel capacity and adding carbon fiber wings.

Meanwhile, Boeing also seems to be taking its time deciding whether to launch its aircraft, telling Reuters it is doing its “due diligence” and not dragging its feet.

The aircraft, which is expected to launch in two fuselage sizes, will be “a little bigger than an A321 but goes a lot further” and “about the size of the A330 but has a lot better efficiency,” Boeing Senior Vice President Ihssane Mounir told Reuters. The Airbus A330 typically seats around 250 people. The main difference between the A321LR and the future Boeing MOM is that the latter would be a twin-aisle design. There is no timeline from Boeing on when the plane might launch.

Featured image by PASCAL PAVANI/AFP/Getty Images.

Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card

Earn 90,000 bonus miles and 10,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new card in the first three months of card membership. Offer ends 11/10/2021.

With Status Boost™, earn 10,000 Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, up to two times per year getting you closer to Medallion Status. Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels, 2X Miles at restaurants and at U.S. supermarkets and earn 1X Mile on all other eligible purchases. Terms Apply.

Apply Now
More Things to Know
  • Limited Time Offer: Earn 90,000 Bonus Miles and 10,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months. Offer expires 11/10/2021.
  • Earn up to 20,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) with Status Boost® per year. After you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, you can earn 10,000 MQMs two times per year, getting you closer to Medallion® Status. MQMs are used to determine Medallion® Status and are different than miles you earn toward flights.
  • Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels.
  • Earn 2X Miles at restaurants worldwide, including takeout and delivery and at U.S. supermarkets.
  • Earn 1X Miles on all other eligible purchases.
  • Receive a Domestic Main Cabin round-trip companion certificate each year upon renewal of your Card. *Payment of the government imposed taxes and fees of no more than $75 for roundtrip domestic flights (for itineraries with up to four flight segments) is required. Baggage charges and other restrictions apply. See terms and conditions for details.
  • Enjoy your first checked bag free on Delta flights.
  • Fee Credit for Global Entry or TSA Pre✓®.
  • Enjoy an exclusive rate of $39 per person per visit to enter the Delta Sky Club® for you and up to two guests when traveling on a Delta flight.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees.
  • $250 Annual Fee.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees
Regular APR
15.74%-24.74% Variable
Annual Fee
$250
Balance Transfer Fee
N/A
Recommended Credit
Excellent/Good
Terms and restrictions apply. See rates & fees.

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.