Airbus offers long-range version of A321neo, targets Boeing 757

Tue Oct 21, 2014 4:54pm EDT
 
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By Victoria Bryan

(Reuters) - Airbus Group NV (AIR.PA: Quote) said on Tuesday that it has begun offering airlines a long-range version of its A321neo jetliner, aimed at replacing Boeing Co's (BA.N: Quote) 757 jetliner, a long-range single-aisle jet that is no longer in production.

"The long-range version of the A321neo will be the ideal 757 replacement with true transatlantic range, 25 percent lower fuel burn and true long-range comfort," an Airbus representative told Reuters.

The new jet would fill a gap in the product line for a single-aisle plane that can fly farther than Boeing's 737 or the Airbus A320, a niche long seen as one that Boeing might also seek to fill.

The new A321neo jet would have a flying range about 100 nautical miles greater than the 757-200W, and would seat about 164 passengers, similar to the 757's capacity of 169, but with 18-inch-wide seats and room for lie-flat beds in business class, Airbus said.

The Toulouse, France-based plane maker said it foresees the jet entering service in 2019.

"We are actively discussing this A321neo development with customers," Airbus said. "The increased 97-tonne maximum take-off weight and additional fuel capacity will give the A321neo a significant range increase overtaking the 757 currently operating on the transatlantic."

The jet will carry additional fuel tanks, but normal A321neos cannot be retrofitted to extend their range, according to Seattle-based aerospace consulting firm Leeham News and Comment, which first reported on the new plane earlier on Tuesday.

Boeing was not immediately available to comment.

(Reporting by Victoria Bryan in Berlin; writing by Alwyn Scott, editing by G Crosse and Matthew Lewis)

 
A flight test engineer holds an Airbus Group flag after the first flight of the Airbus A320neo (New Engine Option) in Colomiers near Toulouse, southwestern France, September 25, 2014.   REUTERS/Regis Duvignau