Icelandair, based in Keflavik, placed a firm order for 13 Airbus A321XLR jets in July 2023.

Airbus Launches Automated Assembly A321XLR Line

Aug. 31, 2023
The new hangar will support ramping-up and equipping of eight rear fuselage sections simultaneously for the new, extra-long range narrow-body commercial jet.

Airbus inaugurated a new, automated A321XLR equipping hangar in Hamburg, Germany, expanding its manufacturing capacity for fuselages for the “extra long-range” narrow-body aircraft. “Airbus’ Hamburg site plays a significant role in the development and production of the A321XLR,” commented André Walter, head of Airbus Commercial Aircraft Production in Germany.  With our new, state-of-the-art equipment installation hangar, we are now expanding our capacity to manufacture A321 fuselages and making an important contribution to supporting our ramp up. …The design of the building reflects the latest standards in production and sustainability.”

The A321XLR is a new variant of the long-range A321LR that will have a range of up to 4,700 nm (8,700 km, or 5,400 miles); and 30% lower fuel consumption per seat than previous-generation jets. The maximum takeoff weight (MTOW) will be 101 metric tons (111 tons), and takeoff, climb, and flight performance will be comparable to the A321neo. Airbus introduced the XLR in 2019, and the first flight for a prototype version took place in June 2022. Entry into service has been delayed until 2024, currently, to address regulatory concerns about the placement of extended fuselage fuel tanks.

In Hamburg, at the new, 9,600 m2 H259 equipment installation hangar, all the components of the rear fuselages of the A321XLR aircraft (also built in Hamburg) will be installed and mounted. The hangar is equipped with state-of-the-art manufacturing technologies, such as automated logistics, fully digital systems, and test stations that can output the status of each fuselage section at any time.

The almost 24-m-long fuselage sections are prepared with all electrical and mechanical systems, as well as other elements (e.g., windows, floor panels or external antennas) on an automated ‘pulse line’ consisting of eight stations.

Each fuselage section is fully tested directly after the systems are installed, and the fuselage sections are then transferred to the final assembly line in Hamburg.

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