Airbus has completed production of and revealed the first A321neo Airbus Flex Cabin (ACF). The plane will go through ground tests prior to its first flight, which will be in the coming weeks. The first scheduled delivery of an A321neo ACF to a customer is in mid-2018.
The A321neo ACF is the newest member of the A320 family. Modifications of its fuselage allow for more flexible cabin configurations. The plane can seat up to 240 passengers with a space-saving aft galley installed, up from 220 in the original A321. The A321neo ACF has a new rear section and a modified passenger door configuration: the door located slightly forward of the wing has been removed and new overwing emergency exits have been added; in addition, the rearmost doors can be moved slightly forward. The A321neo ACF, while an option today, will become standard for all A321neos around 2020.
The 240-passenger seating goal can be reached by putting 102 seats in front of the overwing exits, six at the exits, 59 seats between the wing and repositioned aft exits, and 73 seats in the rearmost section.
The A321neo ACF is also the base for a long-range A321 variant known as the A321LR. The A321LR has an increased Maximum Takeoff Weight compared to the current A321; the A321LR can take off with up to 97 tons and has a third fuel tank allowing for a maximum range of 4000 nautical miles; this allows for intercontinental flights. Delivery of the A321LR is set to start in the fourth quarter of this year.
The A321 is the largest member of the A320 family. The A321neo offers a reduction in fuel consumption of at least 15% per seat; by 2020, it will offer a 20% reduction.
Featured image by Airbus