Airbus A321

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D-AIAF (19552328044).jpg
A Condor A321
Role Narrow-body jet airliner
National originMulti-national [lower-alpha 1]
Manufacturer Airbus
First flight11 March 1993
Introduction1994 with Lufthansa
StatusIn service
Primary users American Airlines
China Southern Airlines
China Eastern Airlines
Turkish Airlines
Number built1,777 as of  2018 [1]
Unit cost
US$114.9 million [2]
Developed from Airbus A320
Developed into Airbus A320neo family

The Airbus A321 is a member of the Airbus A320 family of short- to medium-range, narrow-body, commercial passenger twin-engine jet airliners manufactured by Airbus. [lower-alpha 2] It was the first derivative of the baseline Airbus A320 aircraft. It represents a stretched-fuselage variant of the Airbus A320 and entered service in 1994 with Lufthansa, around six years after the original A320. The aircraft shares a common type rating with all other Airbus A320 family variants, allowing existing A320 family pilots to fly the aircraft without the need for further training.

Airbus A320 family Airliner family

The Airbus A320 family consists of short- to medium-range, narrow-body, commercial passenger twin-engine jet airliners manufactured by Airbus. The family includes the A318, A319, A320 and A321, as well as the ACJ business jet. The A320s are also named A320ceo after the introduction of the A320neo. Final assembly of the family takes place in Toulouse, France, and Hamburg, Germany. A plant in Tianjin, China, has also been producing aircraft for Chinese airlines since 2009, while a final assembly facility in Mobile, Alabama, United States, delivered its first A321 in April 2016. The aircraft family can accommodate up to 236 passengers and has a range of 3,100 to 12,000 km, depending on model.

Narrow-body aircraft single-aisle full-size jet airliner classification

A narrow-body aircraft or single-aisle aircraft is an airliner arranged along a single aisle permitting up to 6-abreast seating in a cabin below 4 metres (13 ft) of width. In contrast, a wide-body aircraft is a larger airliner usually configured with multiple aisles and a fuselage diameter of more than 5 metres (16 ft) allowing at least seven-abreast seating and often more travel classes.

Twinjet aircraft propelled by two jet engines

A twinjet or twin-engine jet is a jet aircraft powered by two engines. A twinjet is able to fly well enough to land with a single working engine, making it safer than a single-engine aircraft in the event of failure of an engine. Fuel efficiency of a twinjet is better than that of aircraft with more engines. These considerations have led to the widespread use of aircraft of all types with twin engines, including airliners, fixed-wing military aircraft, and others.


In December 2010, Airbus announced a new generation of the A320 family, the A320neo (new engine option). [3] The similarly lengthened fuselage A321neo variant offers new, more efficient engines, combined with airframe improvements and the addition of winglets, named Sharklets by Airbus. The aircraft delivers fuel savings of up to 15%. The A321neo carries up to 236 passengers, with a maximum range of 4,000 nmi (7,400 km; 4,600 mi) for the long-range version carrying onboard 206 passengers. [4]

Airbus A320neo family Airliner, series of improvements across the A320 family

The Airbus A320neo family is a development of the A320 family of narrow-body airliners produced by Airbus. The original family has been renamed A320ceo, for current engine option. Launched on 1 December 2010, it made its first flight on 25 September 2014 and it was introduced by Lufthansa on 25 January 2016. Re-engined with CFM International LEAP-1A or Pratt & Whitney PW1000G engines and with large sharklets, it should be 15% more fuel efficient. Three variants are based on the previous A319, A320 and A321. As of December 2018, Airbus has received 6,526 orders and delivered 635 aircraft.

Final assembly of the aircraft takes place in Hamburg, Germany, or Mobile, Alabama. As of 30 September 2018, a total of 1,777 Airbus A321 aircraft have been delivered, of which 1,755 are in service. In addition, another 2,137 airliners are on firm order (comprising 108 A321ceo and 2,029 A321neo). As of September 2018, American Airlines was the largest operator of the Airbus A321, operating 219 aircraft. [1]

Hamburg City in Germany

Hamburg is the second-largest city in Germany with a population of over 1.8 million.

Germany Federal parliamentary republic in central-western Europe

Germany, officially the Federal Republic of Germany, is a country in Central and Western Europe, lying between the Baltic and North Seas to the north, and the Alps to the south. It borders Denmark to the north, Poland and the Czech Republic to the east, Austria and Switzerland to the south, France to the southwest, and Luxembourg, Belgium and the Netherlands to the west.

Mobile, Alabama City in Alabama, United States

Mobile is the county seat of Mobile County, Alabama, United States. The population within the city limits was 195,111 as of the 2010 United States Census, making it the third most populous city in Alabama, the most populous in Mobile County, and the largest municipality on the Gulf Coast between New Orleans, Louisiana, and St. Petersburg, Florida.


Alitalia was the second to receive the stretched A321, after Lufthansa. Alitalia Airbus A321 I-BIXT.jpg
Alitalia was the second to receive the stretched A321, after Lufthansa.

The Airbus A321 was the first derivative of the A320, also known as the Stretched A320, A320-500 and A325. [6] [7] Its launch came on 24 November 1988, around the same time as the A320 entered service, after commitments for 183 aircraft from 10 customers were secured. [6] [8]

An Airbus A321 on final assembly line 3 in the Airbus plant at Hamburg Finkenwerder Airport A321 final assembly (9351765668).jpg
An Airbus A321 on final assembly line 3 in the Airbus plant at Hamburg Finkenwerder Airport

The maiden flight of the Airbus A321 came on 11 March 1993, when the prototype, registration F-WWIA, flew with IAE V2500 engines; the second prototype, equipped with CFM56-5B turbofans, flew in May 1993. [5] Lufthansa and Alitalia were the first to order the stretched Airbuses, with 20 and 40 aircraft requested, respectively. [5] The first of Lufthansa's V2500-A5-powered A321s arrived on 27 January 1994, while Alitalia received its first CFM56-5B-powered aircraft on 22 March 1994. [5] The A321-100 entered service in January 1994 with Lufthansa.

The maiden flight of an aircraft is the first occasion on which an aircraft leaves the ground under its own power. The same term is also used for the first launch of rockets.

Prototype early sample or model built to test a concept or process

A prototype is an early sample, model, or release of a product built to test a concept or process or to act as a thing to be replicated or learned from. It is a term used in a variety of contexts, including semantics, design, electronics, and software programming. A prototype is generally used to evaluate a new design to enhance precision by system analysts and users. Prototyping serves to provide specifications for a real, working system rather than a theoretical one. In some design workflow models, creating a prototype is the step between the formalization and the evaluation of an idea.

IAE V2500 turbofan aircraft engine family

The IAE V2500 is a two-shaft high-bypass turbofan engine which powers the Airbus A320 family, the McDonnell Douglas MD-90, and the Embraer KC-390.

An Austrian Airlines Airbus A321 Airbus A321 - myAustrian (1).jpg
An Austrian Airlines Airbus A321

Final assembly for the A321 would be, as a first for any Airbus, carried out in Germany (then West Germany). [9] This came after a dispute between the French, who claimed the move would incur $150 million (€135 million) in unnecessary expenditure associated with the new plant, [10] and the Germans, arguing it would be more productive for Airbus in the long run. The second production line was located at Hamburg, which would also subsequently produce the smaller Airbus A319 and A318. For the first time, Airbus entered the bond market, through which it raised $480 million (€475 million) to finance development costs. [11] An additional $180 million (€175 million) was borrowed from European Investment Bank and private investors. [12]

Airbus A319 Airliner, shortened series of the A320 family

The Airbus A319 is a member of the Airbus A320 family of short- to medium-range, narrow-body, commercial passenger twin-engine jet airliners manufactured by Airbus. The A319 carries up to 160 passengers and has a maximum range of 3,700 nmi. Final assembly of the aircraft takes place in Hamburg, Germany and Tianjin, China.

Airbus A318 Airliner, smallest series of the A320 family

The Airbus A318 is the smallest member of the Airbus A320 family of short- to medium-range, narrow-body, commercial passenger twin-engine jet airliners manufactured by Airbus. The A318 carries up to 132 passengers and has a maximum range of 3,100 nmi. Final assembly of the aircraft took place in Hamburg, Germany. It is intended primarily for short-range service, although British Airways uses the aircraft on a London City Airport to New York-JFK Airport transatlantic route.

Bond market financial market where participants can issue new debt or buy and sell debt securities

The bond market is a financial market where participants can issue new debt, known as the primary market, or buy and sell debt securities, known as the secondary market. This is usually in the form of bonds, but it may include notes, bills, and so on.

The A321 is the largest variant of the A320 family. [13] [4] The A321-200's length exceeds 44.5m, increasing maximum takeoff weight to 93,000 kg (205,000 lb). [14] Wingspan remained unchanged, supplementing various wingtip devices. Two suppliers provided turbofan engines for the A321: CFM International with its CFM56 and International Aero Engines with the V2500 engine, both in the thrust range of 133–147 kN (30,000–33,000 lbf).


The Airbus A321 is a narrow-body (single-aisle) aircraft with a retractable tricycle landing gear and is powered by two wing pylon-mounted turbofan engines. It is a low-wing cantilever monoplane with a conventional tail unit having a single vertical stabilizer and rudder. The aircraft would be a minimum-changed derivative of the A320, apart from a number of minor modifications to the wing, and the fuselage stretch itself. To maintain performance, double-slotted flaps were included and minor trailing edge modifications were implemented, [14] increasing the wing area from 124 m2 (1,330 sq ft) to 128 m2 (1,380 sq ft). [15] The fuselage was lengthened by four plugs (two ahead and two behind the wings), giving the A321 an overall length of 6.94 metres (22 ft 9 in) longer than the A320. [14] [13] [4] This is achieved by adding a 4.27 m (14 ft 0 in) front plug immediately forward of wing, and a 2.67 m (8 ft 9 in) rear plug. [16] The length increase required the overwing exits of the A320 to be enlarged and repositioned in front of and behind the wings. [5] The centre fuselage and undercarriage were reinforced to accommodate the increase in maximum takeoff weight of 9,600 kg (21,200 lb), taking it to 83,000 kg (183,000 lb). [14]


Airbus A32X family A32XFAMILYv1.0.png
Airbus A32X family


Lufthansa A321-100 Lufthansa.a321-100.d-aire.arp.jpg
Lufthansa A321-100

The original derivative of the A321, the A321-100, featured a reduction in range compared to the A320 as extra fuel tankage was not added to the initial design to compensate for the extra weight. The maximum takeoff weight (MTOW) of the A321-100 was increased to 83,000 kg (183,000 lb). The A321-100 entered service with Lufthansa in 1994. Only about 90 were produced. [17]


Below view of an Airbus A321-200 of British Airways (2008) Planform Airbus A321-200 British Airways (G-EUXK) dep London Heathrow 8June2008 arp.jpg
Below view of an Airbus A321-200 of British Airways (2008)

Airbus launched the heavier and longer range A321-200 development in 1995 which has a full-passenger transcontinental US range. This is achieved through higher thrust engines (V2533-A5 or CFM56-5B3), minor structural strengthening, and an increase in fuel capacity with the installation of one or two optional 2,990 L (790 US gal) tanks in the rear underfloor hold. [18] The additional fuel tankage increases the total capacity of this model to 30,030 L (7,930 US gal). These modifications also increased the maximum takeoff weight of the A321-200 to 93,000 kg (205,000 lb). This variant first flew in December 1996, and entered service with Monarch Airlines in April 1997. Its direct competitors include the 757–200 and the 737-900/900ER.


An Airbus A321neo operating for Virgin America. Virgin America was the type's first operator. N923VA Virgin America Airbus A321-253N s-n 7861 "3-2-1 liftoff" (39621889171).jpg
An Airbus A321neo operating for Virgin America. Virgin America was the type's first operator.

The A321neo will be part of the Airbus A320neo family of airliners developed since December 2010 by Airbus, [20] with the suffix "neo" meaning "new engine option". It is the last step of the A320 Enhanced (A320E) modernisation programme, which was started in 2006. The A321neo replaces the original A321, which is now referred to as A321ceo, for "current engine option".

In addition to the new engines, the modernisation programme also included such improvements as: aerodynamic refinements, large curved winglets (sharklets), weight savings, a new aircraft cabin with larger hand luggage spaces, and an improved air purification system. [21] [22] Customers will have a choice of either the CFM International LEAP-1A or the Pratt & Whitney PW1100G engines.

These improvements in combination are predicted to result in 15% lower fuel consumption per aircraft, 8% lower operating costs, reduced noise production, and a reduction of nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions by at least 10% compared to the A320 series, as well as an increase in range of approximately 500 nautical miles (900 km). [23]


Airbus has delivered its first A321LR to launch customer Arkia 4X-AGH Rami Mizrahi.jpg
Airbus has delivered its first A321LR to launch customer Arkia

The A321LR is a longer range variant of the A321neo, which Airbus predicts provides an overall 25–30% lower operating cost than the Boeing 757 on routes of up to 4,100 nmi (7,600 km; 4,700 mi) where a wide-body would be uneconomical. A321neo weight variant with increased MTOW of 97 tonnes often called A321LR or sometimes A321neoLR (LR = long-range) transports 206 passengers in a two-class layout with increased range to 4,000 nmi (7,400 km; 4,600 mi) by using three additional 2,990 L (790 US gal) fuel tanks. [24] An extended two-class layout additionally including a premium economy class with 164 passengers allows a range of up to 4,100 nmi (7,600 km; 4,700 mi). [25] [26] Historically this is the second MTOW increase after the initial A321-100 with 83 tonnes, which was quickly replaced by the -200 with 93.5 tonnes.

In October 2014, Airbus started to offer it also as a replacement for the aging Boeing 757-200, including the modified version with winglets, known as the 757-200W. Compared to the 757-200W, Airbus predicts an A321LR gives overall 25–30% lower operating cost depending on the number of seats [27] [28] on routes where a wide-body would be uneconomical. Although Boeing has nicknamed a response to the A321LR as "Middle of Market" (MOM), [29] they denied working on for example a new "757MAX", a modification of the 737 MAX 9 or Boeing 767 or the 787-3. [30] [31] [32] [33]

On 31 January 2018, the A321LR completed its first flight. [34] Test flights included a Leap-powered, long-range 4,100 nmi (7,600 km) flight by great circle distance, flown in nearly 11h and with the equivalent of 162 passengers over 4,700 nmi (8,700 km) including headwinds, with five crew and 11 technicians. [35]

On 13 November 2018, Arkia received the first A321LR, featuring 220 seats in a single-class layout and to be deployed from Tel Aviv to London, Paris and Barcelona for up to 5h sectors, or to Zanzibar and the Seychelles, saying it is the first narrow-body jet more efficient than the 757-300 it operates. [36]


As of 31 December 2017, 1,618 Airbus A321 aircraft were in service with more than 100 operators. [1]

American Airlines and China Southern Airlines operate the largest A321 fleets of 219 and 97 aircraft respectively. [1]

Orders and deliveries


Data through end of December 2018 [1] [37]

Accidents and incidents

For the Airbus A321, 31 aviation accidents and incidents have occurred, [38] including four hull-loss accidents / criminal occurrences with a total of 377 fatalities as of October 2017. [39] [40]


Airbus A321 [4]
Cockpit crew2
1-class max. seating [41] 236 at 28 in (71 cm) pitch [42]
1-class, typical [41] 199 at 32 in (81 cm) pitch
2-class, typical [41] 185 (16F @ 36 in, 169Y @ 32 in)
Cargo volume51.70 m3 (1,826 cu ft)
Unit load devices 10× LD3-45
Length44.51 m (146 ft 0 in)
Wheelbase 16.91 m (55 ft 6 in)
Track7.59 m (24 ft 11 in)
Wingspan35.8 m (117 ft 5 in) [lower-alpha 3]
Wing area122.4 m2 (1,318 sq ft) [43]
Wing sweepback25 degrees [43]
Tail height11.76 m (38 ft 7 in)
Cabin width3.70 m (12 ft 2 in)
Fuselage width3.95 m (13 ft 0 in)
Fuselage height4.14 m (13 ft 7 in)
Maximum takeoff weight (MTOW)93.5 t (206,000 lb)
Maximum landing weight (MLW)77.8 t (172,000 lb)
Maximum zero-fuel weight (MZFW)73.8 t (163,000 lb)
Operating empty weight (OEW) [41] 48.5 t (107,000 lb)
Cruising speedMach 0.78 (829 km/h; 515 mph) [44]
Maximum speedMach 0.82 (871 km/h; 541 mph)
Range, typical payload [lower-alpha 4] 3,200 nmi (5,930 km) [lower-alpha 3]
Fuel capacity24,050–30,030 L (6,350–7,930 US gal)
Service ceiling39,100–41,000 ft (11,900–12,500 m) [45]
Engines (×2) CFM56-5B, 68.3 in (1.73 m) fan
IAE V2500A5, 63.5 in (1.61 m) fan
Thrust (×2)133–147 kN (30,000–33,000 lbf)


Aircraft modelCertification dateEngines [45]
A321-11127 May 1995 CFM56-5B1 or 5B1/P or 5B1/2P
A321-11215 February 1995 CFM56-5B2 or 5B2/P
A321-13117 December 1993 IAE Model V2530-A5
A321-21120 March 1997 CFM56-5B3 or 5B3/P or 5B3/2P
A321-21231 August 2001 CFM56-5B1 or 5B1/P or 5B1/2P
A321-21331 August 2001 CFM56-5B2 or 5B2/P
A321-23120 March 1997 IAE Model V2533-A5
A321-23231 August 2001 IAE Model V2530-A5

See also

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  1. The Airbus A321 is built in Hamburg, Germany or Mobile, Alabama, United States
  2. Airbus was originally a consortium of European aerospace companies named, Airbus Industrie, and is now fully owned by Airbus, originally named EADS. Airbus' name has been Airbus SAS since 2001.
  3. 1 2 with sharklets
  4. Passengers and bags


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