Airbus A321 Spotting Guide
LAN Airbus A321
The first derivative of the Airbus A320 was the stretched Airbus A321, also known as the Stretched A320, A320-500 and A325.
The A320 was stretched by 22' 9" into the A321 via plugs in front of and behind the wing. The A321 became the longest fuselage member of the A320 family.
It is a narrow-body, single-aisle airliner, with 6-across seating. Typical 2-class seating capacity is 185 passengers, with a maximum of 236. The 321ceo has a range of 3,200 nm.
The A321 measures 146' 0" (44.51m) in length.
Airbus A321 Background and Development
The first flight of the Airbus A321 occurred in March of 1993, when the prototype, registration F-WWIA, flew with IAE V2500 engines; the second prototype, equipped with CFM56-5B turbofans, flew in May.
Lufthansa and Alitalia were the first to order the stretched Airbuses.
Today, the A321 is a major competitor as a replacement aircraft for the Boeing 757 which is no longer in production but remains a popular component in the fleet of many airliners. Its main competitor is the Boeing 737.
The A321 features an identical flightdeck to the smaller A319 and A320, and has the same type rating as those aircraft.
More than 100 operators have the A321 in service. American Airlines has the largest A321 fleet, followed by China Southern Airlines.
Airbus A321 Original Models
The two original models were the A321-100 and the A321-200, an extended range version of the -100.
The -200 has higher thrust engines and an additional fuel tank, resulting in an increase in range by 350 nautical miles. Externally, the two models are the same. Original models were referred to as A321ceo (Current Engine Option).
|Air France A321
||AtlasJet Airbus A321
|Lufthansa Airbus A321
||Scandinavian Airlines Airbus A321-200
A321neo and A321LR
Airbus A321neo-LR first flight on January 31, 2018 (Photo courtesy of Airbus)
Newer versions include the A321neo (New Engine Option) and the A321LR (Long Range), and feature "sharklets" on the wing tips to improve performance. Some later model A321ceo aircraft also feature sharklets.
On the A321neo, Airbus expanded seating capacity with optimized use of cabin space, increased exit limits and a new cabin door configuration. This “Cabin-Flex” option increased the jetliner’s maximum capacity to 244 seats, while still providing high levels of passenger comfort.
The A321LR variant provides extended range for the A320neo Family’s longest fuselage version, able to fly routes of up to 4,000 nm with 206 passengers by utilizing extra fuel in three Additional Centre Tanks (ACTs).
Ideally suited to transatlantic routes, the A321LR allows airlines to tap into new long-haul markets that were not previously accessible with current single-aisle aircraft
The A321LR made its maiden flight on January 31, 2018.
Airbus A321XLR (Photo courtesy of Airbus)
Announced in 2019, the A321XLR is extending the single-aisle jetliner availability as Airbus’ next evolutionary step for the A321neo Family. Service entry for this extra long range airlilner is planned for 2023. It will offer even more range – up to 4,700 nm (8,700 km) – in a comfortable 2-class layout.
Configured with true long-haul full flat seats – or up to 244 passengers in single class layouts – the A321XLR cabin will benefit from the “Airspace by Airbus” interior, featuring a range of cabin elements providing benefits for passengers and differentiation for airlines.
With the A321XLR, the A320neo Family not only will share common cockpit ergonomics with the Airbus wide-body jetliners, but also will have a common cabin design language and the latest technology.
Photos of Airbus A321neo and ACF Models
|Airbus A321neo Prototype Takeoff|
Shown below is the Airbus A321neo with Airbus Cabin Flex (ACF) Configuration
This configuration has door 2 removed, and replaced by a double-overwing exit. Also in this configuration, door 3 is moved further aft. This configuration is reported to allow a maximum passenger capacity of 240. Airbus and Saab are working on the design and manufacture of ACF components. (Image courtesy of the Saab Group)
Shown below is the rollout of the first Airbus A321neo ACF on January 5, 2018 (Image courtesy of the Airbus)
Airbus A321 Spotting Guide
|The A321 has two engines under the wings, two dual-wheel main landing gear, four cabin doors evenly spaced along the fuselage, and the classic Airbus nose featuring the "notched" window.|
|The Airbus A321 features typical A320-series characteristics including the "rounded nose" and windshield straight across the bottom, and rear cockpit windshield window "notched" at the top corner.|
|The photo below of an Air France A321 shows its landing gear arrangement and wing design.|
Shown below is a side-by-side comparison of the Airbus A321ceo and A310neo. The major visible, external differences lie in the engines and wingtips.
The A321ceo has smaller engines with no small top/bottom extensions at the rear of the engines as does the A321neo.
The A321ceo has small, triangular wingtips, and the A321neo has "sharklets".
In addition to being standard on A321neo aircraft, sharklets became available for newer-production A321ceo versions, and offered as an a retrofit solution on earlier-built A321-series aircraft.
Airbus A321ceo Engine
|Airbus A321neo Engine
Chart showing a side-by-side comparison of the
Note that the A321 has two 2-wheel main gear assemblies, while the 757 has two 4-wheel landing gear.
Airlines Operating the Airbus A321
Over 100 airlines worldwide operate the A321. Shown below are operators with 40 or more A321 aircraft in their fleet (as of September 2019):
|Airline||Number of A321 Airliners|
|China Southern Airlines||99|
|China Eastern Airlines||77|
|Delta Air Lines||93|
Airbus A321 Orders and Deliveries
Total Airbus A321 orders and deliveries are shown in the table below (through January 2020).
|Airbus A321 Model||Orders||Deliveries|
Airliner Spotting Guide for the Airbus A320 Family
The Airbus A321 is part of a short-to-medium range, twin-engine, narrow-bodied A320 series.
For more information on the A320 family, visit the official website of Airbus Commercial Aircraft