Qantas secures up to 36 of Airbus' A321XLRs | Leadership

How the new Airbus A321XLR will shake up business travel

The new jet has been the star of this year's Paris Air Show, with American Airlines announcing that it ordered 50 of the new Airbus planes on Wednesday. "Starting from 2023, the aircraft will deliver an unprecedented "Xtra Long Range" of up to 4,700nm - 15% more than the A321LR and with the same unbeatable fuel efficiency". On the first day of the show, Airbus announced numerous sales for more than 100 jets, while Boeing was left with no sales announcements - only a deal to convert some older passenger jets into freighters.

The purchase agreement includes the conversion of 30 of American's existing A321neo slots to A321XLRs and incremental orders for an additional 20 A321XLRs.

Kevin McAllister, CEO of Boeing's commercial aircraft, told reporters at the Paris Air Show on Monday that "we are very sorry for the loss of lives" in the Lion Air crash in October and Ethiopian Airlines crash in March. In terms of dollar value, Boeing's commitments are valued at $31.8 billion (list prices) compared with a dollar value of $31.6 billion for Airbus's orders and commitments.

Airbus said that it had ensured maximum commonality with the A320neo family of planes, with changes focused on extending the range.

Bill Franke's Indigo will parcel out the XLRs it ordered to three airlines in its stable of discounters: Budapest-based Wizz Air Holdings Plc, Eastern Europe's biggest discount airline, Frontier Airlines of the USA, which aims to fly them coast to coast and could add Hawaii and Alaska, and Chile's JetSmart.

While Qantas generally operates a fleet of Boeing 737 aircraft on short-haul services, Network Aviation does operate Airbus A320 flights out of Perth on behalf of the airline, and subsidiary Jetstar has a large A320 family fleet.

Even so, Boeing was expected to try to capitalize quickly on the move and seek further support for the embattled MAX as it offers airlines other big packages at attractive prices.

Airbus is also in talks with leasing company GECAS and US airline JetBlue about potential A321XLR deals, sources familiar with the matter have said.

With this deal, IAG's combined Airbus orders will jump to 530, according to the manufacturer. He voiced concerns about trade tensions and the growing risk of a no-deal Brexit.

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