US Airways wants A321neo to have Europe and Hawaii range

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This story is sourced from Flight International
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US Airways has informed Airbus it needs the re-engined A321neo to have a similar mission to Boeing 757s that fly longer-haul sectors.

The carrier is a significant customer for Airbus, operating 232 aircraft built by the European airframer, including 93 A319s, 72 A320s and 51 A321s.

Carrier chief executive Derek Kerr says that an A321neo capable of 757 long-haul missions is "of huge interest to us", adding: "We've told [Airbus] that."

US Airways needs an aircraft smaller than the 767 to operate transatlantic flights to Europe and missions to Hawaii profitably, says Kerr.

Airbus has revised its development schedule, putting the A319neo - the re-engined version of its second most popular airframe - ahead of the A321neo, although the overall schedule advancement means the A321neo's entry date will effectively remain the same.

US Airways is taking delivery of 12 A320-family aircraft this year, followed by the same number in 2012. Sixteen A320 deliveries are set for 2013 followed by 18 in 2014. The carrier has some options in 2016, 2017 and 2018 and will likely look at the A320neo at that point in time, says Kerr.

Kerr says US Airways is always looking for 757s, but "there's not a lot out there" as FedEx has "gobbled them up" for its freighter operations.