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Qantas, IAG, Middle East Airlines, Cebu Pacific back Airbus with orders of the new A321XLR aircraft

Airbus received first order for its new A321XLR

Australia’s Qantas Airways, International Airlines Group (IAG), Lebanon's Middle East Airlines (MEA), and Philippines' low cost carrier Cebu Pacific (CEB) are backing Airbus’ new extended range A321XLR with order agreements.

Qantas Airways' agreement is covering 36 aircraft. This includes the conversion of 26 existing A320neo Family orders plus a new firm order for 10 A321XLRs. The aircraft will allow the Qantas Group, which includes low-cost carrier Jetstar, to improve its network and fleet flexibility to better serve point-to-point markets in Australia, Asia and the South Pacific.

IAG, the parent company of leading airlines also including British Airways, Level and Vueling, has selected the A321XLR to expand its fleet of highly efficient single aisles with a firm order for 14 aircraft. Of these, eight are destined for Iberia and six for Aer Lingus. IAG is one of Airbus’s largest customers and this agreement will take the overall order from the group to 530 aircraft. IAG airlines combined operate one of the world’s largest Airbus fleets with over 400 aircraft. The aircraft will enable Aer Lingus to launch new routes beyond the US East Coast and Canada. For Iberia, this is a new aircraft type that will enable it to operate new transatlantic destinations and increase frequencies in key markets.

Middle East Airlines (MEA), the flag carrier of Lebanon, has signed a firm order for four A321XLRs. The agreement takes Middle East Airlines’ cumulative single aisle orders with Airbus to 15 A321neo family aircraft, including 11 A321neos and 4 A321XLRs with deliveries starting in 2020. MEA will use the A321XLR to strengthen its network in Africa and Asia.

Cebu Pacific (CEB) has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) for 31 Airbus aircraft, comprising 16 A330neo, 10 A321XLR and 5 A320neo. Cebu Pacific’s A330neo aircraft will be a higher capacity version of the A330-900, with 460 seats in single class configuration. The airline also becomes one of the launch airlines for the A321XLR, which will be able to fly nonstop from the Philippines to destinations as far afield as India and Australia. The A320neo aircraft announced today will be the first of the type to feature 194 seats in a single class layout.

The A321XLR is the next evolutionary step from the A321LR which responds to market needs for even more range and payload, creating more value for the airlines. From 2023, it will deliver an unprecedented Xtra Long Range of up to 4,700nm – 15% more than the A321LR and with 30% lower fuel burn per seat compared with previous generation competitor aircraft. This will enable operators to open new world-wide routes such as India to Europe or China to Australia, as well as further extending the Family’s non-stop reach on direct transatlantic flights between continental Europe and the Americas. For passengers, the A321XLR’s new Airspace cabin will provide the best travel experience, while offering seats in all classes with the same high-comfort as on a long-haul wide-body, with the low costs of a single-aisle aircraft.





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