Airbus’ first A321LR (Long Range), MSN7877, has accomplished its maiden flight following a mission lasting 2 hours and 36 minutes. The aircraft powered by CFM Leap-1A engines is now set to undergo a nearly 100 hour flight test programme, including trans-Atlantic missions, for EASA and FAA Type Certification in Q2 2018. Entry into service is targeted for Q4 2018.
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The aircraft’s crew comprised: Experimental Test Pilots Yann Beaufils and Peter Lofts as well as Flight Test Engineers Frank Hohmeister, Jim Fawcett, Cedric Favrichon and Cabin Specialist Alexander Gentzsch. During the flight, the crew tested the aircraft’s flight controls, engines and main systems including flight envelope protections, both at high and low speed.
Klaus Roewe, Head of A320 Programme stated: “Thanks to its outstanding performance and unbeatable efficiency, the A321LR will allow our customers to perform flights of up to 4,000nm, allowing them to open new routes – for example transatlantic – and conquer new markets.”
The A321LR features a new door configuration, enabling its operators to accommodate up to 240 passengers in Airbus’ widest Single Aisle fuselage in the sky. The new Airspace by Airbus cabin available on the A320 Family additionally enhances the passengers’ unrivalled travel experience. With further options, combining an increased Maximum Take Off Weight (MTOW) of 97 tonnes and a third Additional Centre Fuel Tank (ACT), the aircraft’s range extends to 4,000nm (7,400 km), allowing airlines to tap into new market opportunities.
Airbus says that with more than 1,900 orders received from over than 50 customers, to date the A321neo has captured a solid 80% market share in its sector.