Swiss to acquire narrow-body aircraft for long range services ?Back to Forum
Readers of the magazine will recall the numerous articles we have published concerning the use of what are essentially short-haul aircraft on long range services.
And now Swiss may jump on the bandwagon. Article in German language.
Although Swiss previously operated a few all business class US flights with narrow-body aircraft (from Privatair) in this case we are talking about the new A321LR neos being operated in a conventional configuration.
The A321LR neo is not yet in service with any carrier.
IAG’s Aer Lingus has already ordered a number of them and they will be deployed on transatlantic routes from Ireland.21 Aug 2017
It’s an interesting change in strategy for many airlines to move away from the established ‘hub and spoke’ concept using the larger aircraft such as the 380, which seems to have been something of a flawed idea. You only have to look at hubs such as IST and DXB to see how they have become the victims of their own success.
I wonder if it’s partly because most of the major hubs have become so unpleasant or cumbersome to travel through that people prefer regional airports, so while there will always be a demand for the larger a/c on busy trunk routes, the trend will be towards connecting regional airports.
This poses some interesting questions, for example, whether LHR needs a third runway if this trend continues, whether there will be enough demand to support daily rotations, because without daily services you tend to lose the high revenue traffic that needs the flexibility.21 Aug 2017
A321LR seems to be replacing the B757 on long thin routes internationally when its in service ‘though it doesn’t have good toilets for an 8hr trip, nor space for first class that you two mention.It is more comfortable than a B737x! Evolution I suppose.23 Aug 2017
Wait and see. Once the first few of these long distance flights we will have a real idea about the consequences on comfort. I don’t think it will be worse than a B757. No idea what lavatories will look like, what the possibilities are for on board pantries, IFE will most likely be state of the art.
Personally I’m more interested in something that has very little to do with wide-body or narrow-body: the quality of service by personnel. With somewhat smaller types of aircraft that may improve. Let’s hope so!23 Aug 2017
I flew on a Qatar A321 from Pisa to Doha earlier in the year in Business. Fabulous seat ( I preferred it to the 777 seat even though it is not fully flat) for a day flight in both directions of less than 6 hours, great service, no Economy transgressors to the forward toilet.23 Aug 2017
News piece from aero.de [DE] refers to the fact that Swiss may wish to use the A321LR for certain destinations in the Middle East and Africa (which may be uneconomical to serve with larger wide-body aircraft).
Certainly the new breed of what used to be considered short-haul aircraft will change the way we fly on a number of routes.
Airlines which have already ordered the A321LR are Norwegian, Aer Lingus, Primera Air, Air Transat and Azores Airlines.
TAP Air Portugal, US carrier Jet Blue, Lufthansa’s Eurowings and SAS are considering the A321LR.24 Aug 2017
In economy, so long as the legroom is ok, I don’t mind whether it’s a wide or narrow body.
For business, I wonder if these aircraft will offer direct aisle access seats or 2-2? The latter would be a step down. Euro business 3-3 with empty middle seat would be a disaster for 2.5 hours and above. Is direct aisle access viable in business on a A320?24 Aug 2017
I think that as flag carriers start employing smaller aircraft types on their medium/long haul route structure the opportunity arises for the likes of BA to use them from regional airports to supplement their core hub operations. It would provide BA with significant supplementary revenues as they could offer customers nonstop long haul access from their local airport and reduce the enticement of customers using the ME3 via the Gulf.24 Aug 2017
LP – According to Airbus the A321LR’s range is 6850 kms. But of course this can vary depending on the configuration. Airbus bases the range on 236 pax one-class Y or 185 pax two-class.
Olneyflyer – Indeed. Interesting that Boeing devised the B787 Dreamliner for less busy or non hub routes. But the airlines have tended to roster the costly aircraft for prime hub to hub routes instead. Take the example of JAL which, from this winter, will be using its B787s (which still retain the comfortable 2-4-2 Y layout) for HND-LHR.24 Aug 2017
Great point Alex. I wonder if the dreamliner is as much a status symbol these days as it is an efficient alternative to the 777. I see from today’s BT news, ElAl is launching Dreamliner services which will eventually include prime destinations in their network as a replacement for the 747 and 767 and maybe even the 777.24 Aug 2017
Alex_F. And as well as the B787 being too large (for some routes at least) it is more expensive to buy and more expensive to operate when compared to B737MAX8 and A321LR.24 Aug 2017
If Swiss configure the aircraft similar to that used on the A321 by AA on their JFK-LAX or JFK-SFO route, then a very comfortable F class in a 1-1 configuration will be possible as well as C in 2-2. In which case, LuganoPirate will be able to sleep easily.24 Aug 2017