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8 JANUARY 2018
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Airlines have for a long time been looking for a successor to the ubiquitous Boeing 757, a transatlantic single aisle aircraft with around 230 seats.
It looks like Toulouse has beaten its Seattle arch rival with the roll-out of the first A321neo ACF (Airbus Cabin Flex) and the promise of a long range version later in the year.
The aircraft, powered by CFM Leap-1A engines, will undergo ground tests prior to its scheduled maiden flight in the coming weeks. First delivery of an A321neo ACF to a customer is scheduled for mid-2018.
The A321neo ACF is the latest addition to the A320 family. By applying modifications to the fuselage the ACF enables more flexible cabin configurations for up to 240 passengers. Compared to the previous A321 variant, the most visible changes are a new rear section and a revised passenger door configuration. The A321neo ACF is an option today and will become standard for all A321neos around 2020.
The A321neo ACF is the base for a longer-range variant known as the A321LR. The A321LR has a third underfloor fuel tank allowing airlines to increase its range to 4,000nm for intercontinental flights. The first delivery of an A321LR is targeted for Q4 2018.
No airline is named as lead carrier but our bet is Primera Air (see in this issue).
All comments are filtered to exclude any excesses but the Editor does not have to agree with what is being said. 100 words maximum
Anthony Keane, Ireland
IAG is reported to have purchased / leased up to ten A321LR, seven of them for Aer Lingus to expand it's growing translantic operation.