Airbus raises suspense on an improved A321neo



by Cyril Altmeyer and Tim Hepher

PARIS (Reuters) – Friday's Airbus searched for a new long-range version of its A321neo single-aisle aircraft and suggested it could collect new orders for the A330neo at the Paris Air Show. opens Monday.

The commercial director of the European aircraft manufacturer Christian Scherer stated at a press conference held a few days before the show that the current long-range version of the A321, A321LR, could reach 4,000 nautical miles and "maybe soon a little more".

Airbus has already started preparing for the marketing of the A321XLR, which will allow airlines to offer long flights on single-aisle aircraft on lines where demand is not sufficient to justify the risk of taking off from a large, partially empty aircraft. .

Analysts question the announcement of the flagship single-aisle aircraft Airbus, Boeing's potential launch of "mid-level aircraft" seems more uncertain after the 737MAX crisis, the competitor of the A320neo.

The objective of the aircraft, which Reuters has revealed is development, is also to reduce the market available for a possible new "mid-market" aircraft that Boeing intends to replace with its 757 and 767 of which it is production stopped.

Airbus plans to launch the A321XLR with a maximum take-off weight of 4,500 nautical miles (8,300 km) on a configuration of approximately 210 seats and up to 4,800 miles.

Airbus does not yet need to find a successor for the A320neo and the technologies will not be ready for three to five years, said executive president Guillaume Faury.

"For me, there is no real problem in 2019 or 2020. We will have a problem in 2023-24-25 if we continue to say that technologies are not ready," Guillaume Faury told the Paris Air Forum talks organized by La Tribune, on a successor to the A320neo.

"This provides the framework for the development of technology: about three, four, five years," he added.

For now, Airbus plans to deliver 60 A320 a month in the middle of this year with the goal of reaching a monthly rate of 63 mi-2021.

"We will use this period to try to provide more linear and more progressive planes and digest this rate increase," said Guillaume Faury.

"After 2021, we will not go up in the sky, but we will continue to climb a little and the next good step remains to be defined," he added. "For the moment, we still do not have the favorable answers of our friends motorists beyond 2021."

Customers of the A320neo can choose between a LEAP engine produced by CFM International, a joint venture between Safran and General Electric, and Prat & Whitney's GTF, a subsidiary of United Technologies.


Guillaume Faury also refused to comment directly on the 737MAX crisis, pointing out instead that he found it "annoying" that the entire supply chain does not allow faster delivery of the devices accumulated in the huge notebooks of commands.

Accipiter Holdings, the leasing branch of Hong Kong group CK Hutchison, is discussing its first direct order for airplanes by purchasing A320neo aircraft from Airbus, according to industry sources.

Airbus declined to comment.

At the same time, the consolidation of equipment manufacturers continues in the United States with the announcement, on June 9, of a merger project between the United Technologies aerospace division and Raytheon in a $ 121 billion deal ( 105.5 billion euros).

"We talk to them to ensure that the Pratt & Whitney engines we buy at home will continue to buy them in good condition," said Guillaume Faury.

"In Airbus, we have the critical dimensions, we remain very important for a consolidated company of this size, but it is true that for other companies, it is able to reverse the balance of power and it is necessary to constantly ask the question of the right balance ", he continued.

(Cyril Altmeyer and Tim Hepher, edited by Bertrand Boucey and Benoît Van Overstraeten)

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