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2014: 363,407
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An Airbus A321 with a 97-ton Maximum Weight — Where Can I Get One!?

An American Airlines A321-231 on final at LAX. AA could be a potential customer for the new A321 variant. Photo - Bernie Leighton | AirlineReporter

American A321 on final at LAX. AA could be a potential customer for the new variant – Photo: Bernie Leighton | AirlineReporter

Airbus has done what analysts have been expecting for the past few months; announce a version of the A321 with the ability to fly a greatly extended range and finally match (and exceed) the capabilities of a Boeing 757-200 with winglets.

The 97-ton maximum weight will be achieved by the addition of a fuel tank in the forward baggage compartment and some fairly low-cost reengineering of the wing. Air Lease Corporation is the launch customer, with a memorandum of understanding for thirty frames. They have not, yet, stated where these aircraft will be placed.

To achieve a 4000-nm range, Airbus has envisioned a configuration carrying 206 passengers (16J and 190Y). They have also stated that, due to the extra fuel tank and limitations of the design, it is unlikely for this aircraft to be able to carry much cargo. This may, immediately, appear as a source of consternation if your airline relies on flying long sorties on narrow-bodies full of fresh fish. Otherwise, is it really a big deal? I would say no.

Continue reading An Airbus A321 with a 97-ton Maximum Weight — Where Can I Get One!?

PHOTO TOUR: Inside American Airlines’ Trans-Con Airbus A321

American Airlines' Airbus A321 sitting at JFK. Image: Eric

American Airlines’ Airbus A321 sitting at JFK – Photo: Eric Dunetz

This story was written for AirlineReporter.com by Eric Dunetz (@southpawcapture)

Out with the old and in with the new.

American Airlines showed off their brand-new Airbus A321 at John F Kennedy International Airport (JFK) on Tuesday and upped the game in the ever-competitive transcontinental market.  I was invited to take a tour.

The A321 with be replacing American’s aging Boeing 767-200 on the JFK/LAX route starting January 7th, and the JFK/SFO shortly thereafter, and will offer a welcomed upgrade for passengers.

Premium seat on the American Airbus A321. Image: Eric

A First Class seat on the American Airbus A321 – Photo: Eric Dunetz

American will be the only carrier to offer a three-class cabin, featuring fully lie-flat seats in both First and Business Class, on a narrow-body aircraft. The First Class cabin will be outfitted with 10 fully lie-flat seats in a 1-1 configuration, giving each seat direct aisle access.

Business class will have 20 fully lie-flat seats in a 2-2 configuration. Each premium class seat features a 15.4-inch HD-capable touchscreen monitor offering a selection of in-flight entertainment including movies, TV programs, audio selections, and games.

In Main Cabin (economy) every seat will have an 8.9-inch HD-capable touchscreen monitor with an assortment of movies, TV programs, games and audio selections.  Only a portion of the content is free.

Continue reading PHOTO TOUR: Inside American Airlines’ Trans-Con Airbus A321

Flying Onboard the A321 – Does it Make a Good 757 Replacement?

An Airbus A321 (from US Airways) pushing back at Philadelphia. Is this the replacement to the 757? - Photo: Mal Muir | AirlineReporter.com

An Airbus A321 pushing back at Philadelphia. Is this a Boeing 757 replacement? – Photo: Mal Muir | AirlineReporter.com

With most Boeing 757s heading toward the end of their life cycles, airlines are moving forward with plans for more fuel-efficient aircraft that can hold similar amounts of passengers over a decent range.  The most popular option at the moment is the Airbus A321.  Having never flown one myself, I was excited to have an opportunity to test out this aircraft on a recent flight out east. I wanted to see first hand how the newer A321 stacked up to the (soon-to-be) classic 757.

At the moment, the only current operatosr of the A321 in the U.S. are Spirit and US Airways; however JetBlue and American Airlines have received their first ones and Delta, and Hawaiian have plans to expand their fleet with the A321 in either CEO (Current Engine Option) or NEO (New Engine Option) flavor.  In some cases, these aircraft will replace 757s, such as with AA; however, some are just for expansion as with the case of JetBlue & Hawaiian.

My first-ever flight on an Airbus A321 was with US Airways, travelling from Phoenix to Washington DC’s Reagan National Airport.  Not only would this be a new aircraft for me, but also a new airport (Phoenix) and a new airline (US Airways). Hee-haw, I was down for the AvGeek newness tri-fecta.

Continue reading Flying Onboard the A321 – Does it Make a Good 757 Replacement?

Catching a Lufthansa Airbus A321’s Rapid Descent Live

Image from PlaneFinder.net via NYCAviation.com.

Image from PlaneFinder.net via NYCAviation.com.

Watching airline activity live via social media can have interesting consequences. Last week, I happened to see the #7700 tweet [which are tweets that are auto generated that go out any time an aircraft in coverage squawks 7700] from Planefinder.net as soon as it was posted and went to check out what was happening. Normally when you catch these emergencies, not much happens immediately, and the aircraft either continues on to its destination, or diverts to another airport.

This time I noticed that the aircraft immediately entered a very rapid descent [see an image of normal descent]. In my experience, something like that is usually caused by a loss of cabin pressure, where the pilots level off at 10,000 feet to asses the situation. However, this aircraft passed 10,000 and continued to rapidly descent, which was worrying. Was this a huge emergency, website error or just standard procedure for some issue on the flight?

Continue reading Catching a Lufthansa Airbus A321’s Rapid Descent Live