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New A321neo variant makes first flight
A321LR. © Airbus

New A321neo variant makes first flight

The latest addition to the A320neo family, now known as the A321LR, completed its maiden flight from Airbus' facility in Hamburg, Germany on 31st January.

Undeterred by a persistent drizzle, the latest addition to the A320neo family completed its maiden flight from Airbus' facility in Hamburg, Germany on 31st January.

The aircraft — referred to as the A321neo ACF when it rolled out earlier this month — is now officially designated A321LR (as in Long Range).

Airbus explains that the ACF (Airbus Cabin Flex) variant enables a more flexible cabin layout for up to 240 passengers, thanks to a new rear fuselage section and a modified passenger door configuration, where the door located forward of the wing is removed and new overwing emergency exits in the centre section are introduced. Offered as an option today, the ACF configuration will become standard for all A321neos around 2020.

The ACF configuration is the basis for the A321LR. The A321LR also has an increased MTOW (Maximum Take Off Weight) of 97t and a third underfloor fuel tank allowing airlines to increase its range to 4,000 nautical miles for intercontinental flights.

The aircraft that made its first flight today, MSN7877, is now set to undergo a nearly 100 hour flight test programme, including transatlantic missions, for EASA and FAA Type Certification, scheduled for Q2 2018. Entry into service is targeted for Q4 2018.

The ACF variant of the A321neo has been ordered by Delta (100 aircraft), Qatar (50) and Pegasus (25).

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