American Airlines became the first U.S. airline to throw its weight behind Airbus during the Paris Air Show this week. American sidelined Boeing and placed an order for 50 new Airbus A321XLR planes, marking itself as the first U.S. carrier to purchase the European aircraft following its launch on Monday by the European airline manufacturer.
American continues to reel from the global debacle over Boeing’s 737 Max 8 jets that have resulted in the grounding of some 24 planes and cancellation of around 115 flights per day through September 3, according the airline company’s last update.
The new Airbus model is on track to replace American’s older Boeing 757s.
American is not expected to be the only U.S. airline to place orders with Airbus this week. Denver-based Frontier Airlines is also placing orders for some 50 XLR with deliveries aimed for 2023.
Airbus’s new extra-long range, single aisle A321 is in demand. It is the company’s longest-range narrowbody plane and will bring a 30 percent reduction in fuel burn per seat over the “previous generation competitor aircraft.” It has an additional fuel tank that, with other changes, will extend its range to up to 4,700nm, a 15 percent extension over the A321LR. Modified landing gear is expected to create an increase in maximum take-off weight to handle the higher fuel capacity. The planes will be available starting in 2023.
Boeing is not going home from the show empty-handed, however. Reports point to a vote of confidence coming from British Airways, which has placed a 200-plane order from parent company International Consolidated Airlines Group. It was the first order for the beleaguered 737 Max jets during this year’s air show. IAG also ordered 14 Airbus XLR planes for its Iberia and Aer Lingus airlines.