Airbus has suffered a setback early into its A321neo certification campaign following an incident during flight-testing in Perpignan.

The airframer is still examining the impact of the 12 February incident on the aircraft but has not disclosed the extent of any damage.

It has not confirmed whether the jet – powered by CFM International Leap-1A engines – sustained a tail-strike. The A321, with its longer fuselage, is more vulnerable to such events than the rest of the A320 family.

Airbus refers simply to an “incident” having taken place at Perpignan following a flight from Toulouse. The phase of flight during which the event took place has not been made clear, and there is no information on any navigation aids in use at the time.

The A321neo was transferred back to Toulouse three days later.

“We are assessing the situation and have no further information at the moment,” said Airbus, speaking during the Singapore air show.

The aircraft (D-AVXB) had been only four days into its flight-test programme, having conducted its maiden sortie from Hamburg on 9 February.

Airbus is aiming to deliver the A321neo, which will also be available with Pratt & Whitney PW1100G engines, towards the end of this year.

Meteorological data for Perpignan – which has a single main runway, designated 15/33 – indicates that the airport was not experiencing significant weather conditions on the date of the incident.

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Source: Cirium Dashboard