Airbus S.E. completed assembly for the first A321neo ACF aircraft, a new variant of the narrow-body aircraft that will make a commercial debut later this year. The jet was built at the assembly complex in Hamburg, Germany, that Airbus established in 2016. It will undergo ground tests in the coming weeks, prior to its scheduled first flight.
The Airbus A321neo is the largest version of the A320neo series of a single-aisle aircraft, developed to replace the Airbus A320 series – with "neo" indicating the “new engine option” (either CFM International’s LEAP-1A or Pratt & Whitney’s PW1100G engine).
The first A321neo ACF is outfitted with the LEAP-1A engine turbofan engine.
The A321neo design also includes aerodynamic improvements, weight savings, and various improvements to the cabin design, as well as the new engine options, to improve fuel-burn, emissions, and passenger comfort. According to Airbus, the A321neo will achieve a 15% per seat fuel-consumption reduction.
The Airbus Cabin Flex (ACF) variant has a modified fuselage that allows the jets’ operators to configure the passenger space with up to 240 seats, compared with 184 seats in the first variants of the A321neo.
While the A321neo ACF is an option for airlines currently, it will become standard for all A321neos in 2020, according to Airbus.
In addition, the A321neo ACF is the base for a longer-range variant (the A321LR) that has a higher “maximum takeoff weight” (MTOW) of 97 metric tons and a third, underfloor fuel tank makes it possible to service routes up to 4,000 nautical miles, for intercontinental flights. The first delivery of that version is set for late this year.