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A321neo certified for long-range modifications

Airbus’s A321neo has been certified to operate with three additional centre fuel tanks, enabling it to conduct long-range operations.

The long-range version of the aircraft, designated the A321LR, has secured approval from the European Aviation Safety Agency and the US FAA.

Airbus says the aircraft is able to operate up to 4,000nm with 206 passengers and has also obtained approval for extended twin-engine operations (ETOPS) up to 180min, clearing its use on transatlantic routes.

Certification of the A321LR covers approval to install the three optional fuel tanks, along with the related structural reinforcement and new fuel-management systems.

It also includes modifications to the fuselage, following the reconfiguration of exit doors, as well as clearance to operate at a maximum take-off weight of 97t.

While the new door configuration will be standard on A321neos, the fuel system and structural changes for additional tank carriage will need to be specified by customers in advance.

Approval of the A321neo to operate with the additional tanks moves the commencement of A321LR long-range operations “a significant step closer”, says Airbus.

Leisure airline Primera Air had been among the first customers for the A321LR, but the carrier has suddenly collapsed and ceased operations.

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