Industry First Airbus A321XLR test bed aircraft undergoes final assembly in Hamburg

The first Airbus A321XLR development aircraft is currently undergoing final assembly in Hamburg-Finkenwerder, the manufacturer has released.

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At the Final Assembly Line (FAL) in Hamburg-Finkenwerder, Airbus has begun to perform the Major Component Assemblies (MCA) for the first development aircraft of the Airbus A321XLR. It is a first of three planned test beds. The final assembly is a major step toward beginning with the flight test phase.

According to the manufacturer, the MCAs included the nose and forward fuselage, the centre and aft fuselage, the wings, the landing gears and the vertical and horizontal tailplanes. The parts were developed and produced in various locations the manufacturer has throughout Europe.

The horizontal tailplane was manufactured in Getafe, Spain, while the vertical tailplane arrived from the near-by Stade in Germany. The landing gear was supplied by Safran, the wings were produced in Broughton, UK, the nose and forward fuselage in Saint Nazaire in France and last but not least the centre and aft fuselage from Hamburg in Germany.

Hamburg has become Airbus´ main site to produce and test the new variant of the popular A321. At the facility in northern Germany, Airbus has been successfully working with international supply chains for years and plans to use this experience for a smooth certification and production process of the A321XLR.

Airbus A321XLR production © Airbus
Airbus A321XLR production © Airbus

Regarding the production, Michael Menking, Head of the A320 Family Programme, explained: “We are currently on the way to also have the A321XLR delivered out of other Single Aisle FALs. So it is important for sure that all the teams learn from the experience in Hamburg so we can bring this knowledge to the other facilities. This is also what we are doing with the A320 Family Airspace cabin which we started in Hamburg.”

MSN11000 is expected to enter into flight tests next year. Together with the other two development aircraft, Airbus seeks type certification in 2023, which then would allow the manufacturer to start serial production and deliveries.

The A321XLR was launched by Airbus during the 2019 Paris Air Show at Le Bourget. It is the latest evolution of the A321neo, and unique selling proposition is the additional range installed into the “Xtra Long Lange” variant. The XLR will be capable of flying up to 4,700 nautical miles while delivering a 30% lower fuel burn per seat. The single-aisle airliner opens new markets for customers around the world.

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