Airbus found a decrease in autonomy of its next single-aisle A321XLR (Extra Long range), after concluding an agreement with the european regulators on the necessary safety devices to obtain certification, reports Reuters, citing industry sources.
Airbus presents the A321XLR as a model that will change the game among narrow-body aircraft, this single-aisle can replace long-haul on certain international routes. The A321XLR benefits from greater range made possible by the addition of a new rear center fuel tank, molded into the lower fuselage. However, industry regulators have raised concerns about fire risks and evacuation times in the event of an accident, which has delayed the plane’s entry into service, scheduled for the second quarter of 2024.
Airbus Director of Programs and Services Philippe Mhun said last month that the aircraft manufacturer had reached an agreement with the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) to obtain certification. In particular, the EASA requested that modifications be made to the central rear fuel tank of the aircraft.
All of the changes to the structure, however, would have added some 700 to 800 kilos to the weight of the aircraft, compared to earlier estimates of 200 to 300 kilos. This additional weight would reduce the maximum range of the A321XLR by approximately 370 kilometers, officially evaluated by Airbus at 8,700 km, or more than 10 flight hours. “Airbus does not expect a significant impact on the A321XLR’s unique advantage in the single-aisle segment“, told Reuters a spokesman for the European aircraft manufacturer, questioned about the autonomy of the future single-aisle.