Together with Airbus’ A330neo, the A321XLR perfectly addresses the “middle of the market” (the gap between single-aisle aircraft and the smallest widebodies), and also enables Airbus to enhance the product coverage between its A220 and A320 single-aisle families and the widebody A330neo and A350 XWB.
According to Isabelle Bloy, the A321XLR’s engineering head, Airbus derived the aircraft from its A321LR variant – with the A321LR’s two added rear fuel tanks replaced by a permanent rear centre tank. Additionally, a forward additional centre fuel tank can be incorporated in the A321XLR.
Other changes include strengthening in the fuselage and main landing gear, the incorporation of a modified inboard wing flap for improved low-speed performance, along with larger capacities for the aircraft’s water and waste tanks.
Final assembly of the first A321XLR is planned for 2021, with the aircraft’s entry into airline service targeted in 2023.