Airbus has completed the first flight of its forthcoming A321LR aircraft, ahead of a targeted entry into service of the fourth quarter of 2018.
The flight lasted two hours and 36 minutes, and will now be followed by around 100 hours of flight tests, including transatlantic flights, in order to obtain its EASA and FAA certifications.
The A321LR features a new door configuration, enabling customers to operate the aircraft with up to 240 passengers. Airbus’ latest Airspace by Airbus cabin is also available on the aircraft.
The single-aisled plane has a range of up to 4,000 nautical miles, thanks to a third Additional Centre Fuel Tank (ACT), allowing it to operate routes such as New York-Paris, Lisbon-Recife, Dubai-Beijing, Kuala Lumpur-Tokyo and Singapore-Sydney.
The A320 neo family of aircraft has attracted over 1,900 orders from over 50 customers. Forthcoming operators of the A321LR include Norwegian, Air Transat and Aer Lingus.
Last year Business Traveller’s consumer editor Alex McWhirter reported on the growing trend of single-aisle aircraft operating long-haul routes.
Boeing’s new-generation B737 Max 8 has a smaller range than the A321LR, but is still able to operate some transatlantic routes, and has begun deliveries to carriers including Norwegian, Westjet and Flydubai.