The fuel-efficient Airbus A321 XLR (extra long range) is the new aircraft of choice for Qantas, with the Flying Roo announcing it has secured up to 36 of the planes for delivery from 2024.

This tweak to their existing order has seen Qantas convert 26 of its existing A321 NEO orders into A321 XLRs and add a further 10 XLRs – taking the total order from 99 aircraft to 109.

Qantas said the aircraft’s ability to fly longer distances meant it could be used to open up new destinations or replace wide-body aircraft on existing routes, improving overall economics.

The A321 XLR has a range of around 8,700 kilometres, which is 15% more than the A321 LR.

Depending on cabin configuration it can carry up to 244 passengers. It offers a 30% lower fuel burn per seat compared with previous generation aircraft.

Key to the XLR’s flying range is additional fuel tanks in the belly of the aircraft plus, improved aerodynamics and a 25% increase to maximum take-off weight compared with the Group’s existing A320s Classics.

“We already know the A320 is a great aircraft and this new variant can fly further and more efficiently than any other single aisle jet on the market,” Qantas Group CEO, Alan Joyce said.

“It can fly routes like Cairns-Tokyo or Melbourne-Singapore, which existing narrow-bodies can’t, and that changes the economics of lots of potential routes into Asia to make them not just physically possible but financially attractive.”

Qantas Group CEO, Alan Joyce

“We’ll take a decision closer to the time about which parts of the Group will use these aircraft, but there is plenty of potential across Qantas and Jetstar,” he said.

Qantas-karryon

“We’ll also take a view on whether they are used to replace older aircraft or whether they are used for growth, which will depend on what’s happening in the market.”

The Qantas Group A320 Family now order sits at 28 x A321 LRs, 36 x A321 XLRs and 45 x A320 NEOs.

 

What do you think of the new order?