GERMAN CHARTER operator Aero Lloyd is to acquire up to 22 Airbus narrowbodies in a deal which launches the extended range A321-200 variant and boosts International Aero Engines.

The package consists of two A320s and four A321-200s purchased from Airbus (with options on four undefined models), together with ten A320s and A321s leased from International Lease Finance (ILFC), with two more options - all powered by IAE V2500 turbofan variants.

The ILFC aircraft have already been announced, but the purchases and options add to the consortium's orderbook. The ILFC engine deal is technically unannounced, but the transaction has been widely reported, and IAE's announced value of the new business - $140 million - covers only the aircraft to be acquired direct from Airbus.

Aero Lloyd's decision is another blow for McDonnell Douglas, which will see its DC-9/MD-80 fleet gradually replaced by the new aircraft. For Airbus, it also stems a recent spate of new-generation Boeing 737 orders from four German charter operators.

The A321-200, with heavier weights than current A321s, will be configured in a single class with 212 seats and be powered by a new V2500 version - the 147kN (33,000lb) V2533-A5.

Airbus says that the A321-200 specifications include a maximum take-off weight increased by 6t to 89t. Maximum landing- and zero-fuel weights have also been increased, by 2t to 75.5t and 71.5t, respectively. A new 2,900litre (650gal) central tank increases maximum range by 700-1,100km (400-600nm).

Source: Flight International