The FlyerTalk rumor mill is buzzing around American Airlines ahead of the 2019 Paris Air Show. According to one industry insider, American may consider adding the Airbus A321LR to their fleet, with an announcement coming during the show at the end of June.
After American Airlines was forced to ground the Boeing 737 MAX 8, could they be considering ordering airframes from the manufacturer’s chief rival? An unconfirmed rumor on the FlyerTalk forums suggests an order could be announced at the end of the month during the 2019 Paris Air Show.
Started by FlyerTalker JonNYC, the unconfirmed report “from multiple angles” suggests that the Fort Worth-based carrier could be interested in adding the Airbus A321LR airframe to their fleet. Described as the long-range version of the A321neo, the A321LR has a range of over 4,600 miles with a maximum capacity of over 200 passengers.
According to Airbus, the narrow-body, long-range aircraft is “Ideally-suited to transatlantic routes,” with multiple seating arrangements available. Arkia Israeli Airlines was the launch customer of the airframe, electing to outfit theirs with 220 economy seats. The airframe is certified for consumer flight by both the European Aviation Safety Agency and the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).
FlyerTalkers are already musing about the idea that the Airbus aircraft could come to American’s fleet. On the forums, Antarius hopefully writes: “I wish AA had invested in their 757 fleet. But, since they haven’t and they look, feel and act like dinosaurs, this will be a welcome addition to the fleet.”
FlyerTalker SOBE ER DOC notes that the front of the aircraft may not have as much room as previous aircraft: “Folks in the front, particularly those traveling alone and those who have become accustomed to having extra space may not be as happy,” they note. “I for one would actively avoid any plane where someone would have to climb over me to get to the aisle if I am traveling alone.”
In comparing both aircraft, AlwaysAisle notes the A321LR is very similar to the 737 MAX, and passenger comfort will come down to one variable. “Beside window size and location of 737 MAX vs. A321neo (or LR), as far as us passengers are concerned it is comfort and function of seats AA will install on aircraft,” they write. “Which has nothing to do with Airbus vs. Boeing.”
American currently has 24 737 MAX 8 aircraft grounded due to FAA orders. FlyerTalk reached out to American for comment on the rumors, but has not received a response as of press time.
[Featured Image: SIAE 2017/ Anthony Guerra & Alex Marc]