Icelandic budget carrier Play has expressed interest in the potential of Airbus’s A321XLR, but is waiting to see whether the twinjet could fit within the airline’s low-cost model.

Play already uses a fleet of 10 A320neo-family jets, including the A321neo.

Speaking to FlightGlobal in London on 9 May, Play chief executive Einar Orn Olafsson described the long-range A321XLR as “an exciting aircraft” which could give the airline the capability to operate to Dubai, Asia or the US West Coast.

“But it is a very expensive aircraft,” he adds. “So we have to be confident that we can have a good load factor, and good yields, flying to those destinations.

“Those are long flights. Typically low-cost airlines are rather skewed towards shorter flights. And Iceland being way north in the Atlantic, we have already a longer stage length than typical low cost airlines.”


Source: Airbus

Airbus expects the A321XLR to enter service in the third quarter of 2024

Olafsson points out that the A321XLR – which is not expected to enter service until the third quarter – has yet to be tested in the budget airline sector, and queries whether low-cost carriers will need to offer a more expensive product to passengers on long-haul routes.

Central European budget carrier Wizz Air has ordered the A321XLR, and Olafsson is curious to observe how the airline will use the type.

But he stresses that Play is moderating its growth, limiting its expansion to one or two aircraft per year, and the XLR is unlikely to be formally considered for at least four or five years.

“We’ll see how the XLR goes before we entertain it,” he says. “But we’re definitely looking at it.”