Iberia relies on the Airbus A321XLR: New era for long-haul flights

Airbus A321XLR (Photo: Airbus).
Airbus A321XLR (Photo: Airbus).

Iberia relies on the Airbus A321XLR: New era for long-haul flights

Airbus A321XLR (Photo: Airbus).
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After a long wait and speculation, it is now official: Iberia will be the launch customer for the Airbus A321XLR, the longest narrow-body aircraft in the world. While many details have not yet been made public, such as the exact timing of the first long-haul flight, concrete steps are now being taken. The first tickets for long-haul flights with Iberia's A321XLR are already on sale.

According to information from One Mile at a Time, Iberia will operate the Airbus A321XLR between Adolfo Suárez Madrid-Barajas Airport (MAD) and Boston Logan International Airport (BOS) from November 14, 2024. The route between MAD and Washington Dulles International Airport (IAD) is then planned from January 15, 2025. This development marks a significant step for Iberia, as it will demonstrate the efficiency and range of this modern aircraft type.

The decision to initially use the A321XLR on medium-haul routes is strategically thought out to ensure a smooth introduction. Nevertheless, there is great interest in seeing the new Airbus on long-haul flights soon. The order for the A321XLR was made as part of a larger commitment by the International Airlines Group (IAG), to which Iberia belongs. Originally, 14 A321XLRs were to be delivered, of which six were for Aer Lingus and eight for Iberia.

However, the launch customer role changed from Aer Lingus to Iberia due to ongoing disputes with Aer Lingus pilots over pay issues, which thwarted the planned launch. IAG commented on the decision by regretting that Aer Lingus had not been able to meet the required cost structure assurances.

Iberia, which is now the first to use the A321XLR, faces the challenge and opportunity to demonstrate the efficiency and versatility of this aircraft type. The decision to start long-haul flights with the A321XLR could not only strengthen connectivity between Madrid and North American destinations, but also improve Iberia's competitiveness in a highly competitive market segment.

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