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Iberia: New Launch Customer of the A321XLR

DALLAS — Iberia (IB) has today confirmed it will be the first airline to introduce the A321XLR into the market "by the end of the summer."

The CEO of the Spanish carrier first announced the milestone on Thursday, May 9. At Madrid’s V Expansion Forum, Marco Sansavini stated that IB would begin to operate long-haul narrow-body flights—the A321XLR can fly up to 4,700nm without refueling "while also providing a premium service at the same level as that enjoyed in wide-body models like the A330s and A350s in Iberia’s fleet."

As per the IB release, its A321XLR will have "182 seats arranged in a Business and Economy cabin configuration, and will include various improvements that offer greater comfort to passengers, such as larger overhead compartments, which can store up to 60 % more carry-on suitcases, six different cabin lighting styles, and an innovative panel at the entrance to the plane, among others."

Sansavini also revealed two of the first potential destinations served by the XLR, starting in the winter season of 2024. Boston-Logan (BOS) and Washington-Dulles (IAD) would be the ones chosen to receive the aircraft first on American soil.

Both routes are currently served by IB’s Airbus A330-200 airplanes, and the replacement would free two sets of A330 aircraft to open new services and further expand Iberia’s influence across the Atlantic Ocean.

In September 2023, the Airbus A321XLR performed a worldwide route-proving tour for its customers. Photo: Adrian Nowakowski/Airways

IAG Launcher

Since the beginning, it was confirmed that the International Airlines Group (IAG) was the Airbus customer to debut the A321XLR commercially. However, the final piece of the puzzle was deciding which member airline should begin operations with the new type.

Aer Lingus had been assigned this position briefly since February 2024. However, the Irish carrier lost its opportunity due to an unresolved pay dispute with the flight crew syndicates.

At the time of writing, IAG will take delivery of 14 A321XLR units, eight of which are destined for Iberia and 6 for Aer Lingus. Both customers have already seen their first airframes being rolled out for final assembly at the Airbus factory at Hamburg-Finkenwerder Airport (XFW).

Take a deep dive into the A321XLR's history, mission and future in the video below.

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