|A Thomas Cook Airlines A321|
|Role||Narrow-body jet airliner|
|First flight||11 March 1993|
|Introduction||1994 with Lufthansa|
|Primary users||American Airlines
China Southern Airlines
China Eastern Airlines
|Number built||1,636 as of 31 December 2017[update]|
|Developed from||Airbus A320|
|Developed into||Airbus A320neo family|
The Airbus A321 is a member of the Airbus A320 family of short- to medium-range, narrow-body, commercial passenger twin-engine jet airliners manufactured by Airbus.[b] It was the first derivative of the baseline Airbus A320 aircraft, and carries up to 236 passengers with a maximum range of 3,200 nmi (5,900 km; 3,700 mi). Final assembly of the aircraft takes place in Hamburg, Germany, or Mobile, Alabama.
The A321 is a stretched-fuselage variant of the Airbus A320 and entered service in 1994 with Lufthansa, around six years after the original A320. The aircraft shares a common type rating with all other Airbus A320 family variants, allowing existing A320 family pilots to fly the aircraft without the need for further training.
In December 2010, Airbus announced a new generation of the A320 family, the A320neo (new engine option). The similarly lengthened fuselage A321neo variant offers new, more efficient engines, combined with airframe improvements and the addition of winglets, named Sharklets by Airbus. The aircraft will deliver fuel savings of up to 15%.
As of 31 December 2017, a total of 1,636 Airbus A321 aircraft have been delivered, of which 1,618 are in service. In addition, another 2,082 airliners are on firm order (comprising 182 A321ceo and 1,900 A321neo). As of December 2017, American Airlines was the largest operator of the Airbus A321, operating 219 aircraft.
The A321LR is a longer range variant of the A321neo, which Airbus predicts provides an overall 25–30% lower operating cost than the Boeing 757 on routes of up to 4,100 nmi (7,600 km; 4,700 mi) where a wide-body would be uneconomical.
The Airbus A321 was the first derivative of the A320, also known as the Stretched A320, A320-500 and A325. Its launch came on 24 November 1988, around the same time as the A320 entered service, after commitments for 183 aircraft from 10 customers were secured.
The maiden flight of the Airbus A321 came on 11 March 1993, when the prototype, registration F-WWIA, flew with IAE V2500 engines; the second prototype, equipped with CFM56-5B turbofans, flew in May 1993. Lufthansa and Alitalia were the first to order the stretched Airbuses, with 20 and 40 aircraft requested, respectively. The first of Lufthansa's V2500-A5-powered A321s arrived on 27 January 1994, while Alitalia received its first CFM56-5B-powered aircraft on 22 March 1994. The A321-100 entered service in January 1994 with Lufthansa.
Final assembly for the A321 would be, as a first for any Airbus, carried out in Germany (then West Germany). This came after a dispute between the French, who claimed the move would incur $150 million (€135 million) in unnecessary expenditure associated with the new plant, and the Germans, arguing it would be more productive for Airbus in the long run. The second production line was located at Hamburg, which would also subsequently produce the smaller Airbus A319 and A318. For the first time, Airbus entered the bond market, through which it raised $480 million (€475 million) to finance development costs. An additional $180 million (€175 million) was borrowed from European Investment Bank and private investors.
The Airbus A321 is a narrow-body (single-aisle) aircraft with a retractable tricycle landing gear and is powered by two wing pylon-mounted turbofan engines. It is a low-wing cantilever monoplane with a conventional tail unit having a single vertical stabilizer and rudder. The aircraft would be a minimum-changed derivative of the A320, apart from a number of minor modifications to the wing, and the fuselage stretch itself. To maintain performance, double-slotted flaps were included and minor trailing edge modifications were implemented, increasing the wing area from 124 m2 (1,330 sq ft) to 128 m2 (1,380 sq ft). The fuselage was lengthened by four plugs (two ahead and two behind the wings), giving the A321 an overall length of 6.94 metres (22 ft 9 in) longer than the A320. This is achieved by adding a 4.27 m (14 ft 0 in) front plug immediately forward of wing, and a 2.67 m (8 ft 9 in) rear plug. The length increase required the overwing exits of the A320 to be enlarged and repositioned in front of and behind the wings. The centre fuselage and undercarriage were reinforced to accommodate the increase in maximum takeoff weight of 9,600 kg (21,200 lb), taking it to 83,000 kg (183,000 lb).
The A321 is the largest variant of the A320 family. The A321-200's length exceeds 44.5m, increasing maximum takeoff weight to 93,000 kg (205,000 lb). Wingspan remained unchanged, supplementing various wingtip devices. Two suppliers provided turbofan engines for the A321: CFM International with its CFM56 and International Aero Engines with the V2500 engine, both in the thrust range of 133–147 kN (30,000–33,000 lbf).
The original derivative of the A321, the A321-100, featured a reduction in range compared to the A320 as extra fuel tankage was not added to the initial design to compensate for the extra weight. The maximum takeoff weight (MTOW) of the A321-100 was increased to 83,000 kg (183,000 lb). The A321-100 entered service with Lufthansa in 1994. Only about 90 were ever produced.
Airbus launched the heavier and longer range A321-200 development in 1995 which has a full-passenger transcontinental US range. This is achieved through higher thrust engines (V2533-A5 or CFM56-5B3), minor structural strengthening, and an increase in fuel capacity with the installation of one or two optional 2,990 L (790 US gal) tanks in the rear underfloor hold. The additional fuel tankage increases the total capacity of this model to 30,030 L (7,930 US gal). These modifications also increased the maximum takeoff weight of the A321-200 to 93,000 kg (205,000 lb). This variant first flew in December 1996, and entered service with Monarch Airlines in April 1997. Its direct competitors include the 757–200 and the 737-900/900ER.
The A321neo will be part of the Airbus A320neo family of airliners developed since December 2010 by Airbus, with the suffix "neo" meaning "new engine option". It is the last step of the A320 Enhanced (A320E) modernisation programme, which was started in 2006. The A321neo replaces the original A321, which is now referred to as A321ceo, for "current engine option".
In addition to the new engines, the modernisation programme also included such improvements as: aerodynamic refinements, large curved winglets (sharklets), weight savings, a new aircraft cabin with larger hand luggage spaces, and an improved air purification system. Customers will have a choice of either the CFM International LEAP-1A or the Pratt & Whitney PW1100G engines.
These improvements in combination are predicted to result in 15% lower fuel consumption per aircraft, 8% lower operating costs, reduced noise production, and a reduction of nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions by at least 10% compared to the A320 series, as well as an increase in range of approximately 500 nautical miles (900 km).
The A321neo weight variant with increased MTOW of 97 tonnes – often called A321LR or sometimes A321neoLR (LR = long-range) – transports 206 passengers in a 2-class layout with increased range to 4,000 nmi (7,400 km; 4,600 mi) by using three additional 2,990 L (790 US gal) fuel tanks. An extended 2-class layout additionally including a premium economy class with 164 passengers allows a range of up to 4,100 nmi (7,600 km; 4,700 mi). Historically this is the second MTOW increase after the initial A321-100 with 83 tonnes, which was quickly replaced by the -200 with 93.5 tonnes.
In October 2014, Airbus started to offer it also as a replacement for the aging Boeing 757-200, including the modified version with winglets, known as the 757-200W. Compared to the 757-200W, Airbus predicts an A321LR gives overall 25–30% lower operating cost depending on the number of seats on routes where a wide-body would be uneconomical. Although Boeing has nicknamed a response to the A321LR as "Middle of Market" (MOM), they denied working on for example a new "757MAX", a modification of the 737 MAX 9 or Boeing 767 or the 787-3.
On 31 January 2018, the A321LR completed its first flight. Test flights included a Leap-powered, long range 4,100 nmi (7,600 km) flight by great circle distance, flown in near 11h and the equivalent of 162 passengers over 4,700 nmi (8,700 km) including headwinds, with five crew and 11 technicians.
As of 31 December 2017, 1,618 Airbus A321 aircraft were in service with more than 100 operators.
Orders and deliveries
Accidents and incidents
|1-class max. seating||236 at 28 in (71 cm) pitch|
|1-class, typical||199 at 32 in (81 cm) pitch|
|2-class, typical||185 (16F @ 36 in, 169Y @ 32 in)|
|Cargo volume||51.70 m3 (1,826 cu ft)|
|Unit load devices||10× LD3-45|
|Length||44.51 m (146 ft 0 in)|
|Wheelbase||16.91 m (55 ft 6 in)|
|Track||7.59 m (24 ft 11 in)|
|Wingspan||35.8 m (117 ft 5 in) [c]|
|Wing area||122.4 m2 (1,318 sq ft)|
|Wing sweepback||25 degrees|
|Tail height||11.76 m (38 ft 7 in)|
|Cabin width||3.70 m (12 ft 2 in)|
|Fuselage width||3.95 m (13 ft 0 in)|
|Fuselage height||4.14 m (13 ft 7 in)|
|Maximum takeoff weight (MTOW)||93.5 t (206,000 lb)|
|Maximum landing weight (MLW)||77.8 t (172,000 lb)|
|Maximum zero-fuel weight (MZFW)||73.8 t (163,000 lb)|
|Operating empty weight (OEW)||48.5 t (107,000 lb)|
|Cruising speed||Mach 0.78 (829 km/h; 515 mph)|
|Maximum speed||Mach 0.82 (871 km/h; 541 mph)|
|Range, typical payload[d]||3,200 nmi, 5,950 km[c]|
|Fuel capacity||24,050–30,030 L (6,350–7,930 US gal)|
|Service ceiling||39,100–41,000 ft (11,900–12,500 m)|
|Engines (×2)||CFM56-5B, 68.3 in (1.73 m) fan
IAE V2500A5, 63.5 in (1.61 m) fan
|Thrust (×2)||133–147 kN (30,000–33,000 lbf)|
|Aircraft model||Certification date||Engines|
|A321-111||27 May 1995||CFM56-5B1 or 5B1/P or 5B1/2P|
|A321-112||15 February 1995||CFM56-5B2 or 5B2/P|
|A321-131||17 December 1993||IAE Model V2530-A5|
|A321-211||20 March 1997||CFM56-5B3 or 5B3/P or 5B3/2P|
|A321-212||31 August 2001||CFM56-5B1 or 5B1/P or 5B1/2P|
|A321-213||31 August 2001||CFM56-5B2 or 5B2/P|
|A321-231||20 March 1997||IAE Model V2533-A5|
|A321-232||31 August 2001||IAE Model V2530-A5|
Aircraft of comparable role, configuration and era
- The Airbus A321 is built in Hamburg, Germany or Mobile, Alabama, United States
- Airbus was originally a consortium of European aerospace companies named, Airbus Industrie, and is now fully owned by Airbus, originally named EADS. Airbus' name has been Airbus SAS since 2001.
- with sharklets
- Passengers and bags
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