By Cailey Rizzo
June 19, 2019
Dreamstime.com via Airbus

Airbus officially launched its new A321XLR aircraft this week at the Paris Air Show.

The plane's fuel efficiency is especially impressive: Airbus says the aircraft will have 15-percent longer ranger than the current A321LR (and bear in mind that “LR” already stands for long range).

The new extra-long-range aircraft will be capable of flying distances up to 4,700 nautical miles, “bringing 30-percent lower fuel burn per seat than previous-generation competitor aircraft,” according to the manufacturer.

The plane will have a capacity of anywhere from 200 to 244 passengers, depending on the airline's chosen seat configuration.

The A321XLR is expected to take to the skies in 2023, and Airbus is expected to confirm up to 200 orders for the plane at the air show this week, according to Reuters. Potential customers could include JetBlue, American Airlines and Indigo Partners, the owner of Frontier Airlines.

The extra-long-range means that U.S. airlines will be able to operate flights to much of South America and Europe with the planes.

Airbus did not reveal a price for the new A321XLR aircraft but the current A321neo lists for $129.5 million.

The plane’s introduction furthers an industry-wide trend of single-aisle aircraft serving routes with lighter travel. Airlines are increasingly more keen to operate these smaller, more fuel-efficient planes on longer, more niche routes (like India to Europe or China to Australia). The planes are also used to increase transatlantic travel, particularly on lower-cost airlines.

The trend towards more fuel-efficient single-aisle aircraft comes at a time when “jumbo jets” are retiring from the skies and both Boeing and Airbus announced they could cease production of their largest “jumbo jet” aircraft.

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