Airbus Completes First Flight-Test A321XLR Assembly
HAMBURG—Airbus has completed assembly of the first A321XLR flight-test aircraft here, as the manufacturer prepares for the flight-test campaign to start in 2022.
With cabin testing now completed, Airbus is progressing with the installation of flight test equipment and seats for the flight test engineers. MSN11000 will be powered by CFM LEAP engines. Two more development aircraft, MSN11058 and MSN11080, are in earlier stages of assembly.
The A321XLR is the long-haul version of the A321neo, based on the cabin-flex layout. It is targeted to fly up to 4,700 nm, therefore allowing legs from North America deep into Latin America and transatlantic flights from the U.S. East Coast and some Midwest airports. The aircraft has garnered several hundred firm orders and is to enter service in 2023.
The main difference between the baseline A321neo and the A321LR is the addition of the rear center tank, which is produced by Premium Aerotec and holds 12,900 liters (3,400 gal.) of fuel.
The A321XLR is currently built on FAL (final assembly line) 2 in Hamburg’s Hangar 9. All heads-of-versions—the initial aircraft for a new customer—are to be assembled there. However, the aircraft also will be assembled at other locations, including Toulouse, where Airbus is building a dedicated A321neo line in the former A380 hangar.