The A321LR variant of Airbus’ A321 jetliner
recently underscored its impressive range with a record-breaking flight
from Mahé in the Seychelles islands to Toulouse, France – covering
a total distance of 4,750 nautical miles in 11 hours.
milestone was reached in late March as part of the A321LR’s
100-hour flight test and certification programme. To make flight
conditions as realistic as possible while evaluating cabin
systems, the A321LR carried 162 human heat-replicating dummy
passengers in addition to its 16-member test crew.
flight test engineer Jim Fawcett, the A321LR’s flight
characteristics and fuel consumption were as expected throughout
the lengthy trip. He said, “The A321LR has completed 15 test
flights. It is an excellent aircraft that keeps its promises in
terms of flight behaviour, passenger comfort and fuel
The A321LR has the longest range of any single-aisle jetliner,
with an increased maximum take-off weight of 97 tonnes (compared
to 93.5 tonnes for the A321), plus the addition of a third
auxiliary centre fuel tank. The jetliner is ideally suited to
transatlantic routes, allowing airlines to tap into new long-haul
markets that were not previously accessible with current
The A321LR – which is on track for a 2018
service entry – also features a new door configuration that
enables up to 240 passengers to be accommodated.
The record-breaking flight followed A321LR hot
weather testing performed at Sharjah International Airport in the
United Arab Emirates.