European airframer Airbus has scored a coup of sorts by officially launching a new variant of the A321neo with 97 tonnes Maximum Take Off Weight (MTOW). Airbus is targeting a 2019 first delivery date.
At 4,000nm, the ‘A321neo 97t’ as it is being referred to, will have the highest range of any single aisle airliner, giving it full transatlantic capability, and thus an ideal replacement to the very popular but discontinued Boeing 757.
The long range will also allow airlines to open up distant markets which are ‘thin’, i.e. do not have high passenger loads to justify a wide-body operation.
An additional fuel tank in the forward hold along with minor improvements in the wing and fuselage, helps the A321neo 97t achieve the range. The aircraft will accommodate 206 passengers in a two-class layout.
Steven F. Udvar-Házy led Air Lease Corporation (ALC) is the launch customer of the new jetliner. The Los Angeles, California head-quartered leasing company signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for 30 more A321neo, increasing its commitments made at the 2014 Farnborough air show to 90.