Airbus SE has reportedly gotten its first order for its new long-range jet airplane model called the A321XLR. The company frog-leaped over its troubled rival Boeing Co, which is still trying to resolve its Boeing 737 Max issues. Boeing is currently trying to get its planes back into service following two fatal crashes.
The US and several other countries have effectively grounded all 737 Max airplanes pending an investigation and the implementation of a proposed fix for the airplane's piloting software. The US Federal Aviation Administration is currently working with international regulators to review Boeing's proposed fix and enhanced pilot training programs.
At the first day of the Paris Air Show held on Monday, Airbus announced that it had signed a massive 100-plane contract with Air Lease Corp worth $11 billion. Airbus will be delivering 27 A321XLR planes as the first part of the order. During the air show, Airbus also detailed the features of its new airplane, which was built to fly trans-Atlantic routes with a range of 4,700 nautical miles.
The new model, with the XLR suffix standing for "extra long range," is aimed at going head to head against Boring's middle-distance offerings. The A321XLR is Airbus' product targeting middle-distance routes such as domestic US flights and central European domestic routes.
The new A321XLR, which has a seating capacity of 240, is a tweaked variant of the company's popular A320neo airplanes. The new model is capable of flying 15 percent farther than the company's LR models. This has been achieved through the increase of the plane's fuel capacity, among other enhancements and modifications.
Boeing initially planned to unveil its new midmarket airplane model called the NMA but was sidetracked following the entire 737 Max debacle. Boeing reportedly invested over $15 billion in the new jets, but that project has been put on hold. Boeing is apparently prioritizing the return of service of its 737 Max airplanes before it officially launches any new products.
With the introduction of the A321XLR, Airbus is now one step ahead in the game. This effectively places a lot of pressure on Boeing to respond as it could lose a large chunk of the market that was once dominated by its 757 and 767 models.
Despite its troubles with its 737 Max airplanes, major airlines have been calling on Boeing to launch its new NMA model. The new model has a reported range of 5,000 nautical miles and a 270 seating capacity. However, Boeing's Chief Executive Officer Dennis Muilenburg revealed in a recent interview that they are still far off from an official launch of the NMA. Muilenburg stated that they are planning to have the planes in active service sometime in 2025.