Further developments of Airbus’ A321

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By Bjorn Fehrm

September 28, 2023, © Leeham News: We recently looked at the latest developments around Airbus' A321XLR certification. When the certification is completed, it extends the A321 to a true Trans-Atlantic airliner.

After the A321XLR, what will be Airbus’ next development? A clean sheet replacement for the A320/A321 series won’t be needed until Boeing replaces the 737 MAX family next decade, and we have described why we think an A220-500 will not happen anytime soon.

The A320/A321 is Airbus main source of revenue and margin. It would, therefore, be a logical focus for further development to keep the success going into the next decade. But what can be done? Is the A321neo with the A321LR and XLR the end of the development of the A321? We use our Airliner Performance and Cost Model (APCM) to analyze A321 fundamentals and look at how to increase capacity and efficiency further.

Figure 1. The Airbus A321XLR. Source: Airbus.

  • From launch 40 years ago, the A320 family has increased capacity by 66%, more than doubled range, and reduced fuel burn per passenger mile by over one-third.
  • What can be achieved over the next 20 years and how?

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