Why the A321XLR makes sense for Alaska Airlines

By Scott Hamilton

Feb. 23, 2020, © Leeham News: Alaska Airlines last week said it will place an order, perhaps this year, for 200 aircraft for delivery over the next decade.

The carrier exclusively operated Boeing 737s until its acquisition of Virgin America. Officials repeatedly put off a decision whether to return to an all-Boeing fleet.

Alaska Airlines Boeing 737-900ER. Source: Alaska Airlines.

Virgin leases for Airbus A319s/320s extend to 2025. The ex-Virgin fleet numbers 61. Leases for Airbus A321s extend to late this decade.

Alaska has 30 A320neos on order from the Virgin merger. However, cancellation rights have small penalties.

The carrier ordered 37 737 MAX 9s. Three were built last year but are stored in the grounding. Seven more are due this year.

Alaska plans to aggressively grow in the next 10 years.

Here’s why converting the 30 Virgin orders to A321neos makes sense.

Flexibility and Opportunities

The A321neos, especially the A321XLR, provide Alaska with more flexibility and opportunities than relying exclusively on the MAX 9 and MAX 10 that will be under consideration.

LNA believes that Alaska should rely on the MAX 9 to replace the 61 A319ceos and A320ceos. With 37 MAXes already on order, adding to this fleet rather than adding the A320neo makes sense. The MAX 9 seats more people and works fine within the current Alaska system, except for some smaller airports in Hawaii and elsewhere.

The MAX 10, which essentially has equal capacity to the A321neo, has poorer field performance than the MAX 9, which is worse than the A321neo. The A321neo is better at difficult airports.

This is the flexibility.

The opportunities come from the dramatically better range. The A321XLR’s 4,700nm range is about one-third more than the MAX 9’s 3,550nm. It’s 42% better than the MAX 10’s 3,300nm. These are advertised ranges. All ranges are shorter when winds, holding time and alternates are computed.

This opens all kinds of opportunities for Alaska to aggressively grow.

Where to?

Seattle hub

Figure 1. Source: Great Circle Mapper.

On Twitter over the weekend, debate focused on Europe from Alaska’s Seattle hub and Asia from the airline’s Anchorage hub. The latter, it was suggested elsewhere, could replicate Iceland as a midway point between the US and Asia.

Figure 1 shows the advertised ranges of the three airplanes from Seattle. The MAXes can’t reach Europe or Asia (except Siberia). The airplanes barely cover Central America.

The A321XLR, however, can reach the northern third of South America. It can also reach Japan and the UK. (All this is theoretically, once again discounting winds, holding and alternates.)

LNA sees little interest in trying for Asia or the UK from Seattle. However, new, non-stop service to Central and northern South America from Seattle is well within the capability of the A321XLR.

Long, thin routes with limited demand are perfect for the A321XLR.

Los Angeles and San Francisco

The A321XLR outperforms the MAX 9/10 from Los Angeles. The latter touch the far north of South America. The A321XLR can reach about half the continent.

Figure 2. Source: Great Circle Mapper.

Figure 3. Source: Great Circle Mapper.


Figure 4. Source: Great Circle Mapper.

If Alaska pursued the “Iceland” scenario, much of Asia would be within reach of the A321XLR. There is no non-stop service between Anchorage and Tokyo (or anywhere else in Japan) or Korea, for example. Non-stop service from Anchorage as far south as Central America is possible.

Alaska has non-stop service to Anchorage from several mainland US cities, so connecting or through service is certainly possible.

Whether Alaska could replicate the business model of Icelandair is another question. But this is beyond the scope of this article.


Not that this is remotely likely, as it would be way outside Alaska’s scope, but the A321XLR opens much of the South Pacific to through traffic from Honolulu. Alaska could, if it chose, provide service from most of the US mainland to Hawaii. The airline has a fair amount of service there from the West Coast and Alaska.

Figure 5. Source: Great Circle Mapper.

Expand or Status Quo

As noted in the weekend discussion, the MAX 9 and MAX 10 can reach any destination on the current route system. (The MAX 10 would be a stretch to Hawaii.) If Alaska wants to stay focused on the US and Mexico, these planes will work well.

But if officials have ambition to Central and South America routes, or beefing up service to Anchorage, the A321XLR is the plane to choose. It all depends on how “aggressive” they want to be.

All Boeing

Mainline Alaska has been an all-Boeing carrier since retiring the McDonnell Douglas MD-80s in 2008. (Yes, the MD was a Boeing airplane by then through the 1997 merger with McDonnell Douglas. But for purposes of this article, this doesn’t count.)

CEO Brad Tilden is a “Boeing brat.” Ray Conner, the former CEO of Boeing Commercial Airplanes, is on the Alaska Board of Directors.

But LNA’s sources say officials really like the A321neos. They perform well. LNA is told they wish the name on the airplane was Boeing. But there is a real shot that Alaska may choose to keep the A321neos and up the order.

The MAX 9/10 simply can’t do what the A321neo can do.

It all comes down to what “aggressively” grow over the next 10 years means.

70 Comments on “Why the A321XLR makes sense for Alaska Airlines

  1. True, the A321XLR offers a myriad of possibilities nonstop out of SEA and many other US hubs but for me the A321XLR really makes a difference on very long trips operated by LCC’s or ULCC’s, not full service carriers like Alaska Airlines. From SEA they can barely scrape Western Europe. The plane might be a better fit for JetBlue out of JFK and BOS going deep into Europe or Latin America. The Alaska idea is kinda interesting but Anchorage is no Iceland and Icelandair I’m sure gets some big incentives from many places to generate tourism via the free stopovers. Between that and very low fares more in line with Norwegian than a full service carrier they are able to carve out a niche while bringing a lot of folks to Iceland. Furthermore Alaska is now hooking up in a big way with AA and joining OneWorld, long haul connectivity will be everywhere with member carriers operating widebodies. I’ve also gotta believe AA would not want AS competing head to head siphoning away traffic that would otherwise go via their hubs at LAX, DFW and MIA. Just my 2 cents worth……

      • Sorry but I have to disagree Scott. AA will not allow that, they need feed via LAX, DFW and MIA. If a new more comprehensive AA deal were not reality then I might agree with you but bottom line is the only reasonable amount of O&D Latin traffic out of here is to Mexico, mostly for leisure travel. Aeromexico is back offering a daily nonstop to MEX and Volaris offers a daily nonstop to GDL. All of the Mexican resort towns are already covered by their B737NG’s and B737MAX-9’s on order. No need for the A321XLR no matter what, it costs 10% more than an A321neo (an airplane I’m sure AS likes) to buy, doesn’t really buy AS anything for the extra capital cost. If anything I can see AS working something out with Airbus to get a better deal than Virgin got, holding these now desirable delivery positions and converting a bunch of planes to A321neo’s, not A321XLR’s.

        • “”If anything I can see AS working something out with Airbus to get a better deal than Virgin got, holding these now desirable delivery positions and converting a bunch of planes to A321neo’s, not A321XLR’s.””

          I would buy the 97t A321 (not LR) and use the new RCT when it is available. The new RCT will improve all A321.

    • I get 3922 NM between Ted Stevens Anchorage and Gatwick London. I also get 4088NM from Ted Stevens to Orly and the same for Prague. Amsterdam, Frankfurt are less. Dublin and Belfast in easy reach. An A321XLR should be able to do the former two (with sufficient reserves) in TAP Portugal three class Lay-out used in their A321LR which is I think 171 pax. Certainly wouldn’t be possible in high density seating. Some interesting South American warm weather holiday destinations for those wanting to escape the long cold winter as Scott points out below.

    • Alaska just purchased to B737 MAX simulators with the first being delivered in June. That pretty much tells the direction they are headed. They will buy a boatload of B737MAX because Boeing needs the orders and Alaska will get them at a “bargain basement” price. It’s all about the price and fleet commonality.

      • Alaska changed all 15 MAX-8 to MAX-9.
        Why would they keep the 30 A320neo delivered from 2020-2022 ?

        • SOME AIRPORTS Can not get the MAx9 due to MTOW like DCA and LGA so AS needs the Transcon flights back and forth on something bigger and more efficent and that is the 321NEOS. AS needs Airbus for that reason if they want to continue Transcon flights.

          • Your logic doesn’t make much sense. MTOW of MAX-9’s is lower than A321neo’s and the MAX-9 can easily fly transcon including out of DCA and LGA. Reality is when AS purchased VA they “inherited” several lease contracts for A319 / A320ceo’s and A321neo’s. The ten (10) A321neo’s are leased from GECAS with deliveries as new aircraft in 2018/19. New aircraft leases are typically 10-12 years long so unless GECAS works out a way to take them back early / replace them with MAX-9’s they will stay in the AS fleet out to at least 2028/29. When most of the fleet was parked in 2020 AS sought ways to remove their A319/320ceo fleet early. They did manage to sell a few owned ones and worked out a deal with a lessor to take their A320ceo’s early replacing them with new MAX-9’s from that lessor’s order book. As traffic built back up AS found they needed to put the remaining A320ceo’s back into service to meet demand and has not pushed as hard to remove them early from the fleet. As long as demand remains at higher levels they instead will likely see the A320ceo fleet reduce in size over time as leases expire while they replace them with new B737MAX-9’s and E175E1’s currently on order. I believe the youngest A320ceo in the fleet was built back in 2012 and delivered new to Virgin America likely on a 12 year lease. If so, this means the entire A320ceo fleet will likely be gone from the Alaska fleet by 2024 leaving only the (10) GECAS A321neo’s along with B737NG’s, B737MAX-9’s, E175E1’s and Q400’s from that point onwards.

  2. Boeing obviously has a lot on its plate presently getting the MAX series back in the air. However, what Airbus has done isn’t rocket science. It has adapted the Additional Centre Tank system used in its Corporate Jet offering onto the A321….they always used to offer up to 2 ACT’s as an option.
    Boeing could very easily add PATS tanks as per the BBJ and offer an equal offering. In fact the OEW of the Boeing 737 is lighter than the Airbus family due to the reduced amount of redundancy the 737 has (eg dual hydraulic system Vs triple on the Airbus) which could translate into additional range / flexibility.

      • Yes, instead the center tank was enlarged and integrated with the fuselage, to gain about 1,600 gallons. About 2,100 gallons more than the MAX without ACT.

          • The XLR has the normal A321 Centre and Wing Tanks but also a large Rear Centre Tank ( 12000L )positioned behind the Main Landing Gear bay, it is fuselage contoured below the cabin floor so for the same number of frames as an ACT it can hold a lot more fuel. It is a structural tank the same as the A340-500 has.

    • if my estimation is correct the MAX10 will have the same or higher OEW that the A321NEO sports.
      1.5 times OEW delta 800NG to 900NG is 5..5.5t +structure + more complex MLG.
      MAX8 OEW is 45t estimation MAX10 -> 50.5+
      A321NEO OEW 50.1t
      all numbers WP:EN

      • Uwe,

        50.1t OEW for the A321neo, the question is for which weight variant.
        The A321neo including the LR has 11 different weight variants with 80-97t MTOW and 67-75.6t MZFW.

        I guess the 50.1t OEW is the minimum for the 80t or 89t MTOW versions.

        • Weight variants are paper derates.
          OEW stays the same. ( well depending on cabin setup obviously. )
          i.e. the A321N has ~8t more payload and/or fuel capability vs the MAX10.

          • Uwe

            Of course the 7t more fuel for the 97t A321 vs MAX-10 is because of MTOW.

            Do you know the difference between 73.3t and 75.6t MZFW for the A321? How much cheaper is the 73.3t version?

    • “”Boeing could very easily add PATS tanks as per the BBJ and offer an equal offering. In fact the OEW of the Boeing 737 is lighter than the Airbus family””

      I doubt that the 737 is lighter in OEW.
      The MAX-8 has 45070 kg for a 2-class 162 seat configuration,
      but ET302 had 47090 kg for a 160 seat configuration.
      The A320neo has 44300 kg and a min weight of 40300 kg.

      For fuel and range the deciding number is MTOW.
      MAX can’t beat A321 and A321XLR.

      • There was Boeing’s B737 MAX 8ERX proposal that used B 737-9 components to increase MTOW and range.

        • All the MAXes are heavily fuel limited
          and belly space is too limited to expand via
          added AFT volume.
          think about why the A321 but not the A320
          gets ACT added.
          ( 8ERX ( ~4t more combined payload ) could use 2 AFT reducing belly volume by 7m³/15%
          ref: 737MAX rev E Acaps

        • From wikipedia:
          “Proposed 737-8ERX:
          Airlines have been shown a 737-8ERX concept based on the 737 MAX 8 with a higher 194,700 lb (88.3 t) maximum take-off weight using wings, landing gear and central section from the MAX 9 to provide a longer range of 4,000 nautical miles (4,600 mi; 7,400 km) with seating for 150, closer to the Airbus A321LR.”

          According to the payload/range diagram the A321LR can have 180 pax (100kg per pax) at 4000nm.

          Why was the MAX-8ERX only a proposal?
          A321LR = 97000kg MTOW / 180pax = 539kg/pax MTOW
          MAX-8ERX = 88300kg MTOW / 150pax = 589kg/pax MTOW
          The MAX-8ERX would be nearly 10% (589kg/539kg) heavier than the A321LR.
          10% is a lot and makes no sense for airlines.

          • same reason why the MAX10 is “interesting” but does not get the attention directed towards the A321 model range by far.
            All the MAX frames now appear a bit heavy set?

  3. I think Alaska waits to see what will happen with B737 MAX, if it will be ungrounded before one year pases. Then they can cancel MAXs and go at full with NEOs. Very revolutionary for Alaska’s all B fleet tradition, but quite possible because they will get a more versatile aircrafts. They are in good position to make this shift because they inherited NEOs orders from Vergin merger.


    “The A321neo is better at difficult airports.” What you meant? If you could extend this thought. High & hot airports, where MAXs are troubled? Something else?

    • @Pablo: hot and high, short and hot, shorter runways. The MAX 9/10 needs a really long runway to take off with full load. 321neo is better.

      • Did the SHARP ( SHort AiRfield ) package make it to the A321NEO?
        That would be even more of a boon.

      • The 321XLR should be able to fly out of fairly tricky airports on shorter missions with say an TOW of ~90T. Was wondering if the MAX7 is under consideration as a niche aircraft for certain lower density/longer/difficult airport routes and/or how important is freight where the A320N comes in play with their ability to take LD3-45’s?

  4. Flights from Russia to West coast America look interesting through Anchorage. From your map it looks like Moscow is in range for the XLR?

    • Further investigation. Passengers from Moscow to parts of North America should be able to save several hours of flight time by changing in Anchorage rather than the Aeroflot destinations of New York and Los Angeles,. Alaska should see decent demand, say from Moscow to Seattle and Vancouver and it would be a viable alternative to cities like San Francisco and Chicago. Alaska could consider serving secondary cities such as St Petersburg and Almaty with the A321.

      Although there are obvious political issues with Russia, it is an important country that is poorly served by flights to North America. Seems like an opportunity for Alaska and the A321XLR.

  5. Probably will Boeing adjust the price downward on the 737-10’s for Alaska. It will get sweaty if DAL are putting A321XLR’s on the west coast and compete harder against Alaska especially if DAL can utilise them for approx. 20hrs/day.

    • Makes me wonder if DAL will use their A220-300s to put pressure on AS, and AA, out on the West Coast, too. Some of the A220-100 city pairs out East are to put pressure on AA and UAL.

      • The airlines used to fly DC-9’s and MD-80’s are gravitating towards the 2+3 seat A220.
        The main historical MD-80 operator AA has not yet moved and might start to think once the DAL A220 fleet exceeds 100 Aircrafts and start to outperform American Eagle branded fleets of CRJ’s and ERJ’s.

        • Looking at the A220 reliability numbers ref https://airinsight.com/deltas-a220s-schedule-struggle/
          it will take some time before A220 sales really take off as Airbus has some homework to do first. The Amazing reliability of DAL 717 and MD-80’s considering their age and Airbus worse performance compared to the 737NG’s. Also note the 717 perform the most flights of DAL Aircraft types in 2019

          • I’ve read that United and AA are passing on the A220 for the foreseeable future. Why? They’ve already spent all their money. Now United has a new boss coming in. He might see it different. Both companies are looking to buy older A319s. United added more CRJ-550s, too.

  6. The really interesting question is would any airline if unencumbered by past fleet decisions choose the 737Max family over the 32xneo one? Is the 737 Max ever the better choice or does it just come down to purchase cost?

    And if it just purchase cost then that is a problem for Boing because the ongoing debacle is make the Max a more expensive aircraft from a program accounting perspective.

    • I think the answer is still yes, they’d have bought them anyway, because Airbus simply cannot manufacture A32x fast enough. Those who got their A32x orders in early are probably very relieved. Those who ordered MAXs haven’t really got the choice, unless it’s scrapped by Boeing.

      Even with the FAA seemingly going along with a software kludge to “fix it” and the enthusiasm surrounding a summer RTS, it’s far from certain that anyone will want to fly on it or if other regulators will let it fly at all. Scrapping it is still a highly plausible outcome.

      Arguably if that is going to be the outcome then Boeing will have just wasted everyone’s time; they could be a year into a new single aisle project by now, a year closer to a better outcome they may yet be forced into pursuing.

  7. The assumption seems to be that Boeing will be selling the 737MAX at low prices in order to get them moving again. Given the huge extra costs Boeing faces can they really afford that?

    Ryanair, QANTAS, and I suspect Alaska are saying they are price buyers for the Boeing 737 models. (and for Alaska and QANTAS A321 buyers for routes of heavy demand.) Interesting times for Boeing.

    • They are saying that , but because of the production slow down for Boeing over the next 4 years or so, Boeing has all its slots ‘oversold’ so some one is going to be ‘de-boarded’
      Airbus production is sold out as well so very little opportunity to ramp up enough to take on any Boeing ‘refugees’
      Its just ‘trash talking’ , now common amoung airline CEOs

  8. Looks like the A321XLR is a very useful aircraft indeed. Alaska looking to move towards Airbus? Time for some politics I suspect…

    If this possibility doesn’t highlight to Boeing how badly they’ve “missed” with the MAX, then I don’t know what will. I don’t know if any of those who chose the MAX back in the day are still around, but I strongly suspect that the current bunch wish they’d chosen to do a new aircraft.

    • Indeed boing makes terrible planes that are notably inferior in every way to all Airbus products.
      I honestly can’t see it getting better. Really the only option is to jettison the commercial division and cling to their space and military (welfare) division. China won’t be to touch Airbus but they will eat boing and their outdated dinosaur planes alive!

      • I’m not especially a Boeing fan, but I’d be prepared to admit that they can make safe aircraft that are either comfortable or economical. Trouble is that Boeing seems to manage just two of these features at a time, and with the MAX they sank to a new low of just one…

        Meanwhile Airbus are busily selling aircraft that are all three.

        Uncle Sam can’t afford Boeing dropping out of the commercial aircraft market. They depend on that to subsidise the expertise that can make things like the B52, C17. Without that the US military will eventually run into strategic problems.

        • Matthew:

          That really makes no logical sense. The B-52 and C-17 are no longer in production (yes I know, really)

          Boeing cranks out F-15s and FA-18 as well as the T-7 in production as well as KC-135 maint. That is not going away.

          The days of crossing from one to the other is gone (B-52 the genesis of the swept wing and engine pods on 707)

          The only interest the Government would have is a civil sector jobs loss, retirement plans if Boeing went under (which is virtually impossible) no different than Chrysler and GM bailouts (which I supported and we got our money back)

  9. I think any new network addition would have to fit demand and the airlines business model. Does Alaska currently offer long haul business class?

    • Alaska doesn’t fly long haul.
      They do offer 4 abreast recliner seats in business class on their Airbus and Boeings.

  10. There will be no logic in the decision. Alaska panders to Seattle. It is already abandoning its “Most west coast” expansion plan through California by moving most of thier aircraft with the most seats to fly in and out of Seattle to try and stop Deltas expansion. (Which in the big scope of things is futile due to Deltas wealth and size). Seattle airport gives gates according to seats and Delta took a few from Alaska recently. Alaska is in full press to try and stop the bleeding in thier hub. (The AA and One World Deal helps, but won’t stop the Delta expansion). Although Boeing left Seattle for Chicago a few years ago, Seattlites still considers Boeing its pride and joy. Alaska will take the Max primarily to market to the Seattle travelor. Thier base.

    Eventually, coupled with Hawaii market profit erosion courtesy of Southwest I believe Alaska will sell to AA in a few years.

    Unfortunately. We live in the age of giants. And Godzilla (Delta) has decided to take Seattle.

    • Boeing never left Seattle..Boeing Commercial Aircraft still has its HQ and 70,000 employees in the state. The corporate HQ in Chicago has around 700, mostly financial to cover all the Boeing divisions and plants which cover the US.

    • Steve posted that Alaska bought MAX sims.
      Luis posted that more than half of the AS Airbus training department quit.
      Alaska goes with Boeing.

      Delta has only Airbus on order, not a single Boeing !!!
      Delta’s A321neo can comfortably seat 2 more rows than Alaska’s MAX-9.

      How much cheaper can a MAX-9 be that Boeing still can earn money?

  11. The A321XLR is critical for Alaska’s business model because the airline can go to the middle of Atlantic ocean or Pacific ocean with it.

  12. @scott,

    the A321XLR and an airport like La Ceiba in Honduras could serve as the “Iceland” for north and south america. it is sea level, weather is generally good (not on the main hurricane highways), runway is 10k feet with room to grow.

    an airline based there using the A321XLR would be able to provide one stop service from anywhere in NA to anywhere in SA & the carribean & hawaii as well as Spain, Portugal and England.


  13. ” LNA is told they wish the name on the airplane was Boeing”

    That line right there and the provincial outlook it betrays is why more than half the AS Airbus training department quit and went to Breeze over the course of four weeks a month or so ago.

  14. I find myself pondering Alaska and having all your eggs in once basket and the unique position they are in to do something about it.

    Currently they have a on hand fleet of 70 various Airbus. With 30 options (and any possible other type slots) they could buck up the A321NEO they have and pickup A320NEO for the rest.

    Right now the 737 has wiring issues, garbage in the fuel tanks added to the other woes (and assumes no more come out) .

    What is a diversified fleet worth in this situation?

    Boeing is so contractually as well as rep hosed (1 year delay or worse now)

    I would be looking damned hard at a split fleet, the XLR aside and not currently needed and no given in the current routes and expansion.

  15. If the 321XLR gives Alaska the ability to connect directly to hubs in Europe such as airports around London or to Amsterdam as well as airports in Japan job done. From Orlando they could penetrate deep into South America, Buenos Aires ~4000Nm.

    • The big question is, why would AK want to do that.

      Somewhere they have their own plan and right now they have 10 A321NEO. That is not a viable fleet.

      Just because it technically can be done (long flights) does not mean its a viable plan for AK.

      It makes a lot more sense to just convert the orders to standard A320NEO, then its available fleet.

      It may be a good idea to keep the A320CEO group or adding to them (removing the odd balls A319 stuff).

      Then you can compete the buys and not be stuck with a single source.

      As we are seeing from China, when too much depends on China a flu in China hoses the whole system.

      Stock portfolio’s are diversified to avoid just that situation.

      SW would be a good thought to buy A220s. Get rid of the -8s and go with 9s and not be stuck on a single point of failure they have now.

      • Scott indicated that Alaska is won’t be interested in the MAX7 as being to small, this is supported by Alaska’s convertion of MAX8 orders to MAX9. This made me wonder if the airline would be interested in a hypothetical A322 for their “trunk” routes?

        • I really do not think so.

          The always have run distinct regional and then 737 class (MDs some time ago) .

          For regional it was the DH types, they made a deliberate decision recently to move to the E175 (not as efficient but reportedly people are not fond of Tubos)

          I don’t see them shifting strategy again when they had not intended to have two SA types let alone 3 which is what the A220 is (it can do regional but fits in where longer legs involved per Delta)

  16. Now that the A-220 shareholdings are sorted and Bombardier is out of the picture, will the Airbus board agree to an ATO for the 220-500 in time for Farnborough? If so, this will give AS another alternative as it could easily be certified before the MAX backlog mess is sorted.

    • A220-500 will DIRECTLY compete with the A320neo which I’m sure has a much larger profit margin than any A220 version current or future, simply because of the supplier agreements. Why would Airbus develop that airplane -unless- Delta / Air France “force” the issue and buy 100’s of units since neither of them currently operate A320neo’s nor have any on order (DL has only A321neo’s on order). Furthermore, rest assured that if an A220-500 comes along and sold to a US carrier, the threat of a Boeing complaint similar to the one they launched against the A220-100 at Delta will force any aircraft to be built in Mobile, AL (same as the current situation with the -300) which itself already has a fairly sizable backlog in place to build a lot of -300’s for Delta, JetBlue and Breeze (Moxy). No way Alaska would ever see an A220-500 anytime close to when the MAX backlog has been cleared…

      • Saw a piece claiming the 220-500 wont EIS before 2024 or 2025, once expensive BBD supplier deals expire & can be renegociated.

        • Don’t want to be negative, think most of us would like to see an A225, but looking into an hour glass I can see the A225 being launched earliest at the Paris airshow in 2023 with EIS ~2027?

          2nd Generation PW-GTF’s should be available by then, an extra 2Klb thrust above that of the the current A223 engines could come in handy, some Aero tweaks most likely.

          • Bruce H:

            With the A220-500 Airbus can shift the production to all A321 variants and have a viable modern replacement for the A320 that Boeing can’t begin to compete with ala 737.

            Some will continue with A320 or course but as Boeing has zilch i the A321 area (realistically) Airbus makes a lot more money on an A321 and has to compete hard with the A320.

            Sans the C-19 Virus, I would have expected it next year and may well come the year after.

        • @MartinA – Source (or link) to the story (or piece) about -500 EIS and contracts being renegotiated? TIA

      • Airbus is capacity constrained with A320neo production. After this latest increase to rate 63 they only expect to add 1-2 to that for the next 2 years. Only when airlines run into financial problems, such as through reduced traffic because of the coronavirus, will more slots become available.

        Airbus would prefer to increase the A321 share of the production mix as they are more profitable than the A320. So having some orders move to the A220-500 is unlikely to be a concern once the production lines in Quebec and Mobile are sorted.

        Suppliers are hurting with the MAX shutdown and will continue to suffer when the slow production ramp starts. Many of them would welcome new single aisle production lines in North America. Those with expensive BBD contracts will probably renegotiate if that gives them more profit through increased A220 production.

      • Bruce – Your argument holds if AirBus can make as many A32x’s as the market demands. But it can’t, demand for the A32x exceeds supply and will for some time. So while a A220-500 sold may replace a specific A320, the A320 slot freed will be filled, it may even be filled by a A321neo or a A321XLR which probably have greater margin than a A320.

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