AIRBUS A321

TYPE: Twin-jet airliner.

PROGRAMME: Stretched version of A320. Announced 22 May and launched 24 November 1989; four development aircraft; rolled out 3 March 1993, first flight with V2530 lead engine 11 March 1993 (F-WWIA), second aircraft with alternative CFM56-5B engine in May 1993; V2530-powered version received European JAA certification 17 December 1993; CFM56-5B2-powered version certified by JAA 15 February 1994; CFM56-5B1 certified by JAA 27 May 1994; first delivery (D-AIRA to Lufthansa) 27 January 1994; first service with Lufthansa 18 March 1994. A321 powered by CFM56-5Bs passed cold-weather trials in Kiruna, January 1994; first with alternative engine handed over to Alitalia 18 March 1994. JAA approval for Cat. III automatic landings achieved in December 1994. 120-minute ETOPS granted 29 May 1996. The 100th A321 (Alitalia's I-BIXZ) flew 1 July 1998. A321 also recommended by Northrop Grumman as platform for Joint STARS, competing for NATO's Airborne Ground Surveillance requirement (later dropped) and by Raytheon for the Republic of Korea Air Force's E-X AEW&C competition.

CURRENT VERSIONS: A321-100: Initial version.
A321-200: Extended-range version, launched 12 April 1995; features reinforced structure, higher-thrust versions of existing engines and optional additional centre tank (ACT), capacity 2,900 litres (766 US gallons; 638 Imp gallons) which increases maximum T-O weight to 89,000 kg (196,210 lb) and range by 350 n miles (648 km; 402 miles). A321-200 expected to have increased market appeal on North American domestic routes; charter routes between northern and southern Europe; and on scheduled routes between Europe and Middle East. First aircraft flew 12 December 1996 at Hamburg, became G-OZBC of Monarch Airlines and delivered 24 April 1997. Higher-MTOW version, with option of second ACT, launched January 1999; first customer Spanair, for delivery September 2000.
A321CJ: Airbus Industrie reported to be considering a corporate version with additional fuel tanks; no formal plans to launch known by late 2003.
A321 Freighter: EADS EFW conducting feasibility studies into an A321 Freighter with capacity for 14 standard pallets.

CUSTOMERS: Total of 409 sold, of which 289 delivered by 1 January 2004.

COSTS: A321-200 unit cost approximately US$65.6 million, depending on engine choice and customisation level (2001).

DESIGN FEATURES: Compared with A320, A321 has 4.27 m (14 ft 0 in) fuselage plug immediately forward of wing and 2.67 m (8 ft 9 in) plug immediately aft; pairs of wing fuel tanks unified and system simplified; other changes include local structural reinforcement of existing assemblies, slightly extended wing trailing-edge with double-slotted flaps, uprated landing gear and higher T-O weights.

STRUCTURE: As for A320 except for airframe changes noted under Design Features; front fuselage plug by Alenia and rear one by BAE Systems; final assembly and outfitting by Airbus Deutschland at Hamburg.

LANDING GEAR: Uprated, with 22 in wheel rims, 49x18.0-22 or 46x17.0R20 (30 ply) mainwheel tyres and increased energy brakes; wheel and brakes by Aircraft Braking Systems. Minimum ground turning radius 18.00 m (59 ft 0¾ in) about nosewheels, 27.60 m (90 ft 6½ in) about mainwheels.

POWER PLANT: Two turbofans. Options comprise: A321-100: IAE V2530-A5 of 133.0 kN (29,900 lb st); CFM56-5B1, -5B1/P or -5B1/2P of 133.4 kN (30,000 lb st); CFM56-5B2 or -5B2/P of 137.9 kN (31,000 lb st); and, for A321-200; IAE V2533-A5 of 140.6 kN (31,600 lb st); or CFM56-5B3/P or -5B3/2P of 142.3 kN (32,000 lb st).
Normal three-tank fuel capacity 23,700 litres (6,261 US gallons; 5,213 Imp gallons) usable. Fourth tank increases usable quantity to 26,600 litres (7,027 US gallons; 5,851 Imp gallons) in high pressure fuel system or 26,692 litres (7,051 US gallons; 5,872 Imp gallons) in low pressure system. Fifth tank increases usable quantity to 29,684 litres (7,842 US gallons; 6,530 Imp gallons) low pressure (only).

ACCOMMODATION: Typically offers 24 per cent more seats and 40 per cent more hold volume than A320; examples are 185 passengers in two-class layout (16 'super first' class at 91 cm; 36 in seat pitch and 169 economy class at 81 cm; 32 in), or 220 passengers (certified limit) in all-economy high-density configuration. Each fuselage plug incorporates one pair of emergency exits, replacing single overwing pair of A320.

SYSTEMS: Choice of Honeywell 36-300 or APIC APS3200 APU; Honeywell 131-9(A) available from 1998; full commonality with A320 installation.

 

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