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OnTheGreen
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Airbus A321XLR- why now and not at NEO or LR introduction?

Sun Feb 28, 2021 9:18 am

Hello,

I noticed that compared to standard A321NEO there are not that many changes in its XLR variant and not to much of OEW difference between it and NEO with extra ACTs.

Wouldn't it be beneficial to introduce integrated rear fuel tank earlier?

What where the technological hurdles that had to be overcome so that it is only now that XLR is being worked on, and not already available with NEO or NEO LR introduction?

Thanks.
 
Delta777Jet
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Re: Airbus A321XLR- why now and not at NEO or LR introduction?

Sun Feb 28, 2021 9:58 am

Airlines asked for longer range , Airbus designed and created the XLR . Takes some times !
I still miss Trans World Airlines and the L-1011
 
TC957
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Re: Airbus A321XLR- why now and not at NEO or LR introduction?

Sun Feb 28, 2021 10:02 am

Good question.....I think since the A321NEO was selling so well Airbus were happy to just fulfil orders for the " regular " 321NEO's, until the market changed and demand for longer ranged narrow-bodied aircraft increased.
 
VSMUT
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Re: Airbus A321XLR- why now and not at NEO or LR introduction?

Sun Feb 28, 2021 10:31 am

The A321LR is a basic A321neo with additional tanks. It was a quick and easy job.

The A321XLR has a couple of differences from the basic A321. The rear tank is a permanent addition, the center tank has been enlargened, the gear strengthened, different wheels and brakes, strengthened centre fuselage structure, flaps changed and wing chord slightly increased.

Long story short, the A321XLR needs more development time than the A321LR.
 
StTim
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Re: Airbus A321XLR- why now and not at NEO or LR introduction?

Sun Feb 28, 2021 10:58 am

This article implies it is all part of the Airbus incremental development process which de risks each individual item (or spreads the disruption). For many of the steps there have been issues such as implementation of ACF. If they had all been implemented with the basic neo it would have faced many delays.

https://runwaygirlnetwork.com/2021/02/2 ... -aviation/
 
flyboy80
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Re: Airbus A321XLR- why now and not at NEO or LR introduction?

Sun Feb 28, 2021 1:07 pm

Is the wing chord larger due to the strengthening, I imagine it’s not something noticeable to the eye?

I’m amazed at the OP question myself. There was so much dialogue about a 757 “capable” airplane for so long that it does indeed seem as though it could have been offered earlier, with the rollout of the first 321 NEO line- or even an LR with the ceo line in the mid 2010s. I’m guessing the neo in XLR trim is offering considerable thrust increases as well versus the newer gen ceo. It’s still hard to believe this plane will actually fly farther than the 757 (although I imagine a much lower takeoff weight for trip fuel and less cargo for the neo) with its much smaller wing. Seems like most of that fuel will have to be in the body tanks? Looking forward to seeing the XLR story unfold and how it will be used over the next decade, especially across the Atlantic.
 
VSMUT
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Re: Airbus A321XLR- why now and not at NEO or LR introduction?

Sun Feb 28, 2021 1:21 pm

flyboy80 wrote:
Is the wing chord larger due to the strengthening, I imagine it’s not something noticeable to the eye?


Pretty sure they are extending the trailing edge of the flaps, like they did when they originally stretched the A320 into the A321 in the 1990s, and similar to how the A350-1000s wing is bigger than that of the A350-900.
 
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Revelation
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Re: Airbus A321XLR- why now and not at NEO or LR introduction?

Sun Feb 28, 2021 3:53 pm

VSMUT wrote:
The A321XLR has a couple of differences from the basic A321. The rear tank is a permanent addition, the center tank has been enlargened, the gear strengthened, different wheels and brakes, strengthened centre fuselage structure, flaps changed and wing chord slightly increased.

Long story short, the A321XLR needs more development time than the A321LR.

StTim wrote:
This article implies it is all part of the Airbus incremental development process which de risks each individual item (or spreads the disruption). For many of the steps there have been issues such as implementation of ACF. If they had all been implemented with the basic neo it would have faced many delays.

It doesn't feel "incremental" when you change so many things, and as flightglobal reports in a paywalled article ( https://www.flightglobal.com/aerospace/ ... 64.article ), you're also setting up a separate production line to accommodate it.
Wake up to find out that you are the eyes of the world
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Wake now, discover that you are the song that the morning brings
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Crosswind
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Re: Airbus A321XLR- why now and not at NEO or LR introduction?

Sun Feb 28, 2021 6:46 pm

I think the main reason this wasn’t offered from the start, is most customers don’t want it and therefore don’t want to pay for it. The XLR is definitely a significant development of the main A321neo product line, and as such was offered later and will never become “standard” because other customers don’t want that. It would actually make the A321neo less competitive against the 737 from a purchase price perspective if it was built as XLR standard

I’ve no doubt that the XLR will sell well, but as a customer you’re only going to pay the extra money for those capabilities if you need them. The rest won’t, and don’t want any extra cost or weight on their aircraft flying around for the next 25 years.

Just like you wouldn’t walk into a car dealership and order a new car with every possible added option, airlines only spec their aircraft to what they need. So they will order the lowest max take off weight option they need, and the least equipment for their requirements. If they require extra options for what they intend to use the aircraft for, then they’ll be selected. Regardless of what an aircraft may be capable of, airlines will spec it how they choose; recent example was British Airways specifying their 787-10s without cabin crew rest areas, limiting them to flights of around 10 hours or less. The aircraft is capable of more, but the airline didn’t want to use it like that, and as a result have only paid for what they need.
 
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seahawk
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Re: Airbus A321XLR- why now and not at NEO or LR introduction?

Mon Mar 01, 2021 7:31 am

Evolutionary development, not only on the side of Airbus but also on the side of the customers. First the ACTs were preferred because you could take them out, when more and more frames flew or were planed to flown with constantly installed ACTs, the XLR became viable.
 
WIederling
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Re: Airbus A321XLR- why now and not at NEO or LR introduction?

Mon Mar 01, 2021 9:55 am

Revelation wrote:
It doesn't feel "incremental" when you change so many things, and as flightglobal reports in a paywalled article ( https://www.flightglobal.com/aerospace/ ... 64.article ), you're also setting up a separate production line to accommodate it.


IMU they are creating a "siding" in the fuselage segment production around the integral tank.
probably not a dumb idea. the change is rather intrusive.
Murphy is an optimist
 
astuteman
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Re: Airbus A321XLR- why now and not at NEO or LR introduction?

Mon Mar 01, 2021 10:20 am

OnTheGreen wrote:
Hello,

I noticed that compared to standard A321NEO there are not that many changes in its XLR variant and not to much of OEW difference between it and NEO with extra ACTs.

Wouldn't it be beneficial to introduce integrated rear fuel tank earlier?

What where the technological hurdles that had to be overcome so that it is only now that XLR is being worked on, and not already available with NEO or NEO LR introduction?

Thanks.


I think it's in the history...
Airbus launched the NEO..
a) because they could, and
b) to head off Boeing's "New Small Aircraft" (NSA) at the pass - something it achieved with amazing success by precipitating the launch of the MAX.

At that time I think the thinking was all pretty much in the classic A320/737 space.
Airbus did admit that they saw potential for sales in the A321 NEO, a potential borne out by reality.

I think then, seeing the success of the A321, and the lack of success of the MAX-9, Boeing got much more serious about NMA/MOM - the middle of the market plane.

For me, the A321 LR and A321 XLR came about as tactical spoilers to the MOM/NMA business case, by providing a "cheap and cheerful" option that could do 75% of the task, and be available more than half a decade earlier - in other words the same strategy as used back in 2010 to head of NSA.

I've heard a lot of noise on here about how close Boeing got to actually launching NMA.
But the only thing the company itself published was that it still needed to make the business case close....

Rgds
 
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Revelation
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Re: Airbus A321XLR- why now and not at NEO or LR introduction?

Mon Mar 01, 2021 2:29 pm

WIederling wrote:
Revelation wrote:
It doesn't feel "incremental" when you change so many things, and as flightglobal reports in a paywalled article ( https://www.flightglobal.com/aerospace/ ... 64.article ), you're also setting up a separate production line to accommodate it.

IMU they are creating a "siding" in the fuselage segment production around the integral tank.
probably not a dumb idea. the change is rather intrusive.

I think it's the right thing to do. The point is that it showing the scope of the work is growing in an unplanned way. The original plan was to do the work on the main production line. They are fortunate to have an empty hall available for the work. Presumably it means they need additional jigs and tools. Not a big deal, but still a sign that this variant is causing more ripples than anticipated.
Wake up to find out that you are the eyes of the world
The heart has its beaches, its homeland and thoughts of its own
Wake now, discover that you are the song that the morning brings
The heart has its seasons, its evenings and songs of its own

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