Airbus Expects A321XLR First Flight to Take Place This Quarter, Entry-into-Service Delayed to 2024

LONDON – In Airbus’ recent financial results, it announced that the first flight of the A321XLR is expected to take place this quarter, with entry-into-service delayed until 2024.

This comes following the A321XLR rolling out of the manufacturing facility earlier this week.

No Clear Reason But Open to Interpretation…

Airbus hasn’t said exactly why the delay of the entry-into-service has been moved to early 2024 but the manufacturer gave some insight into the A321 side of things:

“Commercial aircraft production for the A320 Family is progressing towards a monthly rate of 65 aircraft by summer 2023, in a complex environment.”

“Following an analysis of global customer demand as well as an assessment of the industrial ecosystem’s readiness, the Company is now working with its suppliers and partners to enable monthly production rates of 75 in 2025.”

“This production increase will benefit the entire global industrial value chain. Airbus will meet the higher production rates by increasing capacity at its existing industrial sites and growing the industrial footprint in Mobile, US while investing to ensure that all commercial aircraft assembly sites are A321-capable.”

if they are wanting to make all aircraft assembly sites A321-capable, then this suggests to me that they want to be fully prepared for more orders of the XLR and other NEO variants moving forward.

Things Are Still on the Up…

Things are still on the up for Airbus, especially with their revenues increasing by 15% to 12 billion EUR in the first quarter of this year.

Guillaume Faury, the CEO of Airbus gave more insight into the performance of the business:

“These Q1 results reflect solid performance across our commercial aircraft, helicopter and defense businesses.”

“Our 2022 guidance is unchanged, even though the risk profile for the rest of the year has become more challenging due to the complex geopolitical and economic environment”.

“Looking beyond 2022, we see continuing strong growth in commercial aircraft demand driven by the A320 Family.”

“As a result, we are now working with our industry partners to increase A320 Family production rates further to 75 aircraft a month in 2025. This ramp-up will benefit the aerospace industry’s global value chain.”

With increased production rates on the way, this signifies that Airbus is ready to go to town on reducing its backlog as much as possible.

Nothing To Worry About…

Overall, there is nothing much for Airbus to worry about regarding the A321XLR delays, as they aren’t really competing against anyone in this market.

With Boeing dealing with their own dilemmas on the MAX and the 787, this has pushed the focus away from the NMA aircraft that they wanted to build.

So, of course, this gives Airbus more scope in their timeframes, enabling them to work on the aircraft more and get it certified in the right way.

And with the business performance of Airbus improving quarter by quarter, the only way is up for the European planemaker.

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