People gathered atÂ Toulouse-Blagnac Airport on 25 September 2014 to witness the historic first “neo” flight – Photo: Airbus
Recently, Leeham News broke newsÂ to the world that Airbus is offeringÂ a new variantÂ of the A321neo. Â This aircraft, dubbed the A321neoLR (rolls right off the tongue, right?) is set to extend the range of the aircraft an additional 400-500 nautical miles (nm) over the standard A321neo (now slated to be around the 4,000 nm mark). Â Airbus hasÂ confirmed the aircraft, according to Leeham, and they say that it will have a 100 nm range advantage over the 757-200W, the variant used primarily for trans-Atlantic flights.
Is this new aircraft the death knell finally for the 757?
The 737-900ER is a popular choice as a longer-range aircraft to replace older 757s, but is it the right fit? Â Photo: Alaska Airlines
We have lookedÂ multiple timesÂ at the differences between the 757 & the A321. Â The two aircraft have always gone back and forth as apparent direct competitors and even the new 737-900ER, which seem to be extremely popular with airlines like Delta, Alaska or the Lion Air Group from Indonesia, canâ€™t seem to replace the 757.
What keeps Boeing from producing a new aircraft to properly replace the 757?
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. Â The most popular option at the moment is the Airbus A321. Â 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. Â 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 DCâ€™s Reagan National Airport. Â 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.