Iberia Schedules Inaugural A321XLR Long-Haul Flight to Boston

Iberia, the Spanish flag carrier, has scheduled its first long-haul passenger flight using the Airbus A321XLR. This milestone marks a significant step for the airline and the aviation industry as a whole. According to reports, the first long-haul flight using the A321XLR is set to take off on November 14, 2024, from Adolfo Su├írez Madrid–Barajas Airport (MAD) to Boston Logan International Airport (BOS). This will be followed by another long-haul flight from MAD to Washington Dulles International Airport (IAD) starting January 15, 2025.

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Iberia's decision to use the A321XLR for long-haul flights comes after a long-running dispute with its pilots over salaries disrupted the original plan for Aer Lingus to be the launch customer for the A321XLR. In a statement, IAG, the parent company of both Iberia and Aer Lingus, said, "Unfortunately, Aer Lingus was not able to give IAG the cost structure assurances necessary for this investment and so the inaugural A321XLR originally planned for Aer Lingus will be allocated elsewhere in the group."

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The A321XLR is a new variant of the A321neo that offers an extended range of up to 4,700 nautical miles. This makes it capable of flying on routes that were previously the domain of widebody aircraft. The A321XLR is equipped with a new Rear Center Tank (RCT) and a modified landing gear to accommodate the additional fuel capacity. Iberia has been preparing for the arrival of the A321XLR for some time. In 2019, IAG placed an initial order for 14 of the new extended-range variants of the A321 twinjet, with six intended to go to Aer Lingus and eight to Iberia. The airline has been working with Airbus to ensure that the A321XLR meets its operational requirements.

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The A321XLR is expected to offer a number of benefits to Iberia. It will allow the airline to operate on routes that were previously not possible with a single-aisle aircraft. It will also provide a more comfortable and efficient travel experience for passengers, with a new cabin layout and improved amenities. The first A321XLR for Iberia is currently under construction at Airbus's facilities in Hamburg, Germany. The aircraft is expected to be delivered to Iberia later this year, with the first long-haul flights scheduled for 2024.

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