Air Canada, in a big blow to Boeing, has placed an order for 26 Airbus A321XLR (Extra Long Range) aircraft.
Air Canada acquiring the A321XLRs
Air Canada has placed an order for 26 Airbus A321XLRs. The airline states that the stretched version of the A321 has sufficient range to serve all North American and select transatlantic markets. It will also help improve the carrier’s fuel efficiency to advance its environmental programs.
Deliveries of these aircraft are expected to begin in the first quarter of 2024 with the final aircraft to arrive in the first quarter of 2027. 15 of the aircraft will be leased from Air Lease Corporation, 5 will be leased from AerCap and 6 are being acquired under a purchase agreement with Airbus S.A.S. that includes purchase rights to acquire an additional 14 of the aircraft between 2027 and 2030.
The airline’s Airbus A321XLRs will feature 182 seats, out of which 14 will be lie-flat Business Class seats and 168 will be standard Economy Class seats. Among the aircraft’s amenities, passengers will enjoy next generation seatback entertainment, access to inflight Wifi and a spacious cabin design featuring generous overhead baggage storage bins. With a range of approximately 8,700 kilometres and an ability to fly up to 11 hours, the A321XLR can operate non-stop anywhere across North America and, pending Transport Canada approval for overseas operations, also fly transatlantic missions. The flag carrier of Canada states that it is in the process of selecting an engine manufacturer for its A321XLR aircraft.
Michael Rousseau, President and Chief Executive Officer, Air Canada, said:
Air Canada is committed to further strengthen its market-leading position, especially through investments in new technology. The acquisition of the state-of-the-art Airbus A321XLR is an important element of this strategy and will drive our core priorities of elevating the customer experience, advancing our environmental goals, network expansion and increasing our overall cost efficiency. This order also shows that Air Canada is emerging strongly from the pandemic and is ideally positioned to grow, compete and thrive in a reshaped global aviation industry.
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The A321XLR will be used both for incremental growth of Air Canada’s fleet and to replace older, less-efficient aircraft expected to exit the fleet. As a result, the new aircraft will yield significant operational cost savings and environmental benefits. Air Canada projects it will have up to 17% lower fuel burn per seat than the previous generation narrow-body on a typical transcontinental flight and a projected reduction of up to 23% versus previous generation wide-body aircraft on a transatlantic flight. This will reduce greenhouse gas emissions to help Air Canada fulfill its environmental commitments, which include the achievement of net carbon neutrality by 2050. The A321XLR is also expected to be quieter for passengers and airports than the aircraft being replaced with the A321XLR.
Air Canada, along with Air Canada Rouge, as of 31st December 2021, had a fleet consisting of 214 aircraft, out of which 136 were single-aisle, narrow-body aircraft.
Recently, Qantas also placed an order for Airbus A321XLR aircraft in addition to Airbus A220 aircraft.
Meanwhile, Air Canada recently announced the resumption of flights to Australia and also announced that it will resume flights to New Zealand in November 2022.
Featured image by Air Canada
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