Airbus A321LR extensive-selection jet completes maiden flight

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HAMBURG (Reuters) – The A321LR, a extended-array version of Airbus’s (AIR.PA) largest and latest one-aisle jet, designed its maiden flight on Wednesday as the European planemaker looks to keep part of the current market wherever it has been outselling rival Boeing (BA.N).

The reconfigured model of the 185-230-seat A321neo is capable of carrying up to 240 individuals. It took off from Airbus’ Hamburg manufacturing unit in northern Germany soon just after 11 a.m. (1000 GMT) and landed just before 2 p.m. (1300 GMT), witnesses claimed.

Airbus says the jet is the world’s longest-variety one-aisle plane, capable of flying up to 4,000 nautical miles when configured with 206 seats like lie-flat beds.

That helps make it a contender to swap very long-serving Boeing 757s that are nearing retirement. But Boeing is learning proposals to leapfrog the airplane with a compact new twin-aisle jet, designed to provide a broader market from 200 to 270 seats.

A determination on no matter if to launch the so-identified as center-of-the-market place passenger jet is anticipated this year.

Airbus has been outselling Boeing in the market for significant solitary-aisle jets by a margin of 4 to a person and claims the new A321LR – with an improved takeoff weight of 97 tonnes – will meet up with demand from customers to switch elderly 757s and some 767s.

Boeing states the chance stretches beyond the 757 substitution market all the way up to planes with 270 seats and would be much better served by a absolutely new airplane. It has, meanwhile, released a larger sized variation of its 737 MAX, and last year outsold Airbus three to a single in extensive-haul extensive-system jets.

Boeing officers concede the A321LR flies further but say it relies on a few, house-absorbing auxiliary gasoline tanks, as an alternative of a person for the 737 MAX 10 in its longest-variety model.

In an energy to pre-empt the achievable launch of a new Boeing jet, Airbus is performing on further enhancements to the A321 even as it stages the initial exam of the A321LR, market sources say.

A particular person common with the Airbus plans informed Reuters past week that it was finding out a even more enhance in the A321neo’s consider-off pounds to 100 tonnes with the aid of tweaks to the present wing and stronger landing equipment, requiring additional engine thrust.

A second selection would consist of a lighter and larger new wing: a little something that saves on motor thrust but charges much more to acquire.

Both of those solutions would involve stretching the aircraft somewhat to accommodate one or two extra rows of seats, the particular person reported.

Airbus has declined to remark on the ideas.

(Added reporting by Fabian Bimmer in Hamburg Composing by Tim Hepher Editing by Mark Heinrich and Mark Potter)

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Airbus A321LR lengthy-variety jet completes maiden flight