Iberia has named Boston and Washington DC as the likely inaugural destinations for the Airbus A321XLR when it becomes the first carrier in the world to launch flights with the long-range narrowbody later this year.

The Spanish airline, rather than sister IAG carrier Aer Lingus, will be the first to deploy the twinjet when it receives its initial aircraft “by the end of the summer”.

XLR paint-c-Airbus

Source: Airbus

IAG ordered 14 A321XLRs in 2019 – the longer-range version of the A321neo – eight of which were for Iberia and six for Aer Lingus. IAG had previously indicated the Irish carrier, which had outlined its intention to introduce A321XLRs on its Minneapolis route this winter, would be the first to fly the type.

However, amid delays in securing a new labour deal with pilots at Aer Lingus, IAG earlier this year said it was still to allocate the two XLRs set for delivery this year and that new aircraft for the Irish carrier this year were dependent on securing a “sustainable collective labour agreement”.

Iberia says it will be the first to fly the long-range narrowbody and the aircraft is initially likely to operate on flights from Madrid to Boston and Washington DC on the US east coast.

The aircraft will be equipped in a two-class 182-seat configuration, including 14 in business class featuring lie-flat seats. 

Airbus originally unveiled the A321XLR at the Paris air show in 2019, prior to the pandemic crisis, at which point it expected deliveries to begin in 2023.

Earlier this year it said first delivery would be in the second half of this year. Around 550 A321XLRs are included in the broader A321neo backlog.