Going the distance

The A321LR, designed to be capable of lying non-stop between Europe and the United States, has been certiied and its A350-900ULR stablemate has been delivered. S Ramadier/Airbus

Airbus has recently achieved two milestones for new long-range variants of its key widebody and narrowbody products, receiving certiication for the A321LR and delivering the first customer A350-900ULR (Ultra-Long- Range).

The A321LR (Long Range) subvariant of the A321neo received European Aviation Safety Agency and US Federal Aviation Administration early in October, paving the way for its delivery to the variant’s launch operator, reported to be Arkia Airlines in Israel, in the fourth quarter of the year. The A321LR is the longest-range single-aisle airliner currently in production, with its 4,000 nautical miles (7,408km) range enabling it to ly between the eastern United States seaboard and Europe.

Meanwhile, Airbus delivered A350-941ULR 9V-SGA (msn 220) to Singapore Airlines (SIA) at Toulouse in September. The airline put this aircraft into service on October 11 when it launched its new non-stop route between Singapore and New York JFK. With an average lying time of 18 hours and 45 minutes, depending on wind conditions, this is now the world’s longest commercial light.

SIA will also put the A350- 900ULR on to two more nonstop transpaciic routes from Singapore later this year, to Los Angeles and San Francisco. The carrier’s Chief Executive Oicer, Goh Choon Phong, said: “We have pushed the limits with this highly advanced new aircraft to extend long-range lying to new lengths.”

The A350-900ULR has 9,700 nautical miles (17,964km) range, or over 20 hours endurance, thanks to a modiied fuel system that increases fuel capacity by 24,000 litres (6,430 US gallons) to 165,000 litres (43,588 US gallons). The A350-900ULR also has extended winglets to optimise eiciency and a higher maximum take-of weight of 280,000kg (619,279lb), up from the baseline aircraft’s 275,000kg (606,272lb).

SIA is to receive seven A350- 900ULRs (each conigured with 67 business class seats and 94 premium economy) out of its total order for 67 A350 family aircraft. Airbus has not yet announced any other customers for the A350ULR subvariant.