Airbus announced that it completed assembly of the first A321neo ACF (Airbus Cabin Flex) at its facilities in Hamburg. The aircraft, powered by CFM Leap-1A engines, will undergo ground tests prior to its scheduled first flight in the coming weeks. The first delivery of an A321neo ACF to a customer is scheduled for mid-2018.
Pay attention to the image painted on the side – NYC to Paris. This message is aimed at target customers (for example, Jetblue we’d think) and the leasing community.
The A321neo ACF is the latest addition to the A321 range. Modifications to the fuselage enable more flexible cabin configurations for up to 240 passengers. Compared to the previous A321, the most visible modifications are a new rear section and a modified passenger door configuration, where the door located forward of the wing is removed and new overwing emergency exits in the center section are introduced. The A321neo ACF is an option today and will become standard for all A321neos around 2020.
The A321neo ACF is the base for a longer range variant known as the A321LR. The A321LR has an increased MTOW of 97 tonnes and a third underfloor fuel tank allowing airlines to increase its range to 4,000nm for intercontinental flights. The first delivery of an A321LR is targeted for Q4 2018.
As popular as the A320neo is, we might see the A321neo as the future growth potential of the A320 family. As our earlier story today noted, there are several A320neo conversions to the larger A321neo in place. We expect to see more.