International Airlines Group has announced it has ordered 6 Airbus A321XLR aircraft for Aer Lingus and 8 aircraft for Iberia.
The first aircraft will be delivered from 2023. The group has also secured options for a further 14 aircraft, which could be used by any airline in the group.
This is a clear vote of confidence by IAG in the Airbus A321XLR aircraft.
IAG is now doubt attracted by is efficiency and commonality with the Airbus A320 series. It is noteworthy that IAG is keen to emphasise it will offer the same passenger comforts as existing wide body aircraft.
For both Aer Lingus and Iberia, IAG emphasise that the aircraft will be used to facilitate transatlantic expansion.
IAG has issued the following statement to the stock exchange:
International Airlines Group (IAG) is ordering eight Airbus A321XLR aircraft for Iberia and six for Aer Lingus, plus 14 options. The airlines will be among the launch customers for the extra long-range narrowbody aircraft with their first deliveries scheduled for 2023.
The A321XLR will be used to expand both Aer Lingus and Iberia’s existing longhaul fleets. Each aircraft will be fitted with Economy and Business cabins including full flat seats. They will also feature the same gate-to-gate inflight entertainment, internet connectivity and ambient lighting as new generation longhaul aircraft.
These aircraft will enable Aer Lingus to launch new routes beyond the US East Coast and Canada. The airline is already taking eight A321neo LR on lease with the first delivery scheduled for this summer.
For Iberia, this is a new aircraft type that will enable it to operate new transatlantic destinations and increase frequencies in key markets.
Willie Walsh, IAG chief executive, said: “The A321XLR has the same unit cost as a widebody longhaul aircraft which will enable profitable network expansion. This will strengthen both Dublin and Madrid hubs providing new transatlantic routes and additional flexibility for connecting passengers. These aircraft will also bring further cost efficiencies and environmental benefits.”