8 OCTOBER 2018
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The Airbus A321neo has won joint approval for long-range (LR) operations with the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) and FAA giving the go-ahead for the aircraft to operate with up to three underfloor Additional Centre Tanks (ACTs).
The decision, which also includes approval for ETOPS operation, gives the A321 several capability options which when combined, allow the LR version to fly up to 4,000nmi with 206 passengers with extra fuel stored in the ACTs.
Airbus noted the ETOPS authorisation also enabled up to 180min single-engine diversion time, which it claimed "is sufficient for performing any transatlantic route”.
The LR certification also includes approval of the A321neo’s “Airbus Cabin Flex” (ACF) option which incorporates a modified fuselage structure with new door arrangements together with a higher Maximum Take-Off Weight (MTOW) capability of up to 97 metric tonnes.
Airbus says while the ACF configuration will become standard for all new delivered A321neos from around the year 2020, the 97t MTOW capability and the ability to carry up to three ACTs will be options.
For the ACTs, customers specify before aircraft manufacture whether the A321 is to be equipped with an expanded fuel management system as well as the necessary structural reinforcements to secure the underfloor tanks.
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