Airlines United Airlines orders 50 Airbus A321 XLR

European aircraft manufacturer Airbus has released, that U.S.-carrier United Airlines has signed a deal to purchase 50 A321 XLR aircraft.

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A firm order has been signed by United Airlines and Airbus. The carrier will receive 50 Airbus A321 XLRs from 2024 onward. United hopes to modernize its fleet on transatlantic routes. For more than 20 years, the airline has been using Boeing 757 and 767 aircraft on these routes.

The deal also represents the first single-aisle purchase at Airbus since 1993, when United ordered A318 and A320 aircraft. Currently, the airline operates with 80 A319s and 99 A320s. The A321 will be the rational addition to the single-aisle fleet.

This order is very meaningful for Airbus, as United had been in talks with Boeing over the acquisition of new aircraft for transatlantic routes over the past months. The decision to order Airbus aircraft is a hard blow for the U.S.-American manufacturer. Previously, United had been thinking about buying 737 MAX aircraft or a specially developed Middle-of-the-Market aircraft from Boeing.

Andrew Nocella, United’s Executive Vice President and Chief Commercial Officer commented: “The new Airbus A321XLR aircraft is an ideal one-for-one replacement for the older, less-efficient aircraft currently operating between some of the most vital cities in our intercontinental network [...] In addition to strengthening our ability to fly more efficiently, the A321XLR opens potential new destinations to further develop our route network and provide customers with more options to travel the globe.”

Christian Scherer, Airbus Chief Commercial Officer added: “We are delighted to be re-United with our friends in Chicago and thank them for their trust. The selection of the A321XLR by the leadership of United Airlines is a ringing endorsement of the range, payload, and fuel efficiency that Airbus incorporated into this state-of-the-art aircraft [...] The exceptional versatility and performance of the A321XLR enable new operational efficiencies that flow to the airline’s bottom line.”

On Paris Air Show this year, Airbus presented the A321 XLR. The aircraft range has been increased to 4,700 nautical miles due to additional fuel tanks installed under the aircraft and under the wings. The aircraft also features a 30% lower fuel consumption per seats compared with previous-generation aircraft.

Compared to the A321neo, the A321 XLR aircraft parts are 80% the same. This means, that the aircraft can be served by the same crew, is powered by the same engines and has the same cabins as the popular Neo.

United Airlines is one of the largest carriers in the United States and was founded in April 1926. The current fleet consists of 790 aircraft, including the 179 A320 Family aircraft, 344 Boeing 737s, 74 B757s, 54 B767s, 93 B777s and 49 B787s. The main operational hub is located at Chicago O´Hare International Airport.

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