A render of LATAM's A321XLR and A321neo.

How would the A321XLR fit into LATAM’s fleet?

Airbus and LATAM Airlines Group announced a new order on Thursday for 17 A321neo aircraft, including 12 Airbus A321XLRs. This is the third XLR order in South America, following Chile’s JetSMART and Sky Airline, and will enable LATAM to complement their long-haul operations.

The new order

LATAM currently has a fleet of 295 aircraft, according to ch-aviation data. In addition, it has signed a significant order with Airbus for 100 narrowbody jets to be delivered within the next eight years.

On the final day at Farnborough Airshow 2022, LATAM ordered 17 additional A321neo aircraft and approved the A321XLR. It was later revealed by Air Insight that the order includes 12 A321XLR models, which were rearranged from previous orders.

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Christian Scherer, Chief Commercial Officer and Head of Airbus International, said this LATAM order for the A321neo is a strong sign of the value Airbus is adding to LATAM’s strategic vision and sustainability ambition, especially after the airline has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. came.

Additionally, “The A321XLR will enable the opening of new routes and enable LATAM to increase its international reach in the region.”

For Airbus, this order marks another step in the consolidation of Latin America’s leading supplier of narrowbody jets. Since 1994, Airbus has captured approximately 70% of net orders in the region and is currently more than 500 units backlog with airlines such as LATAM, Avianca, Volaris, JetSMART, Sky and more.

How would the XLR fit into LATAM’s fleet?

Following the US court’s approval of its Chapter 11 Reorganization Plan, LATAM aims to emerge as a stronger company with a solid financial structure and robust operational performance.

As part of its reorganization process, LATAM has completed several fleet moves, which would result in annual savings on the fleet’s cash flow of approximately 40%.

At the end of the first quarter of the year, LATAM had 299 aircraft, a result of 42 aircraft rejects since entering Chapter 11, 19 aircraft injunctions, and excluding several jets that were reclassified for sale.

Orders from Airbus and Boeing for next-generation aircraft, which are more fuel-efficient, reaffirm the airline’s commitment to a modern fleet.

The A321XLR is one of Airbus’ most important products in the following years. With a range of 4,700 NM and 30% lower fuel consumption per seat than previous generation aircraft, it opens up new opportunities for airlines to launch routes with lower risk for point-to-point operations.

For example, JetSMART and Sky Airline, two Chilean airlines that have ordered the XLR (14 and 10 aircraft respectively), want to introduce this aircraft on long-haul routes to the United States. The Santiago de Chile-Miami route, currently operated by wide-body aircraft or with a stopover, is one of the potential markets for the XLR.

LATAM could do something similar. Currently, LATAM operates 11 routes over 3,000 nautical miles from Santiago de Chile. LATAM uses its widebody fleet on these routes (mainly the Boeing 787 Dreamliner). At least a few of these routes, especially those targeting a more leisure-oriented market, such as Santiago-Cancun and Santiago-Punta Cana, could be switched to the XLR in the future.

Airbus plans to introduce the A321XLR next year. Photo: Airbus

The Delta JV

Adding the XLR is also interesting looking at LATAM’s future joint venture agreement with Delta Air Lines.

The two airlines are looking for a joint venture that will allow them to have the scale necessary to be a major competitor in the North America-South American market. They aim to offer new or expanded services on at least 18 non-stop routes, some of which can certainly take advantage of the greater range of the A321XLR.

When Airbus announced the XLR in 2019, it envisioned several routes in the US, including Washington Dulles-Lima, Houston-Santiago, Buenos Aires-Miami or Orlando-Santiago de Chile, which could theoretically be a perfect complement to LATAM. .

On which routes do you think the A321XLR would be a perfect fit for LATAM? Let us know in the comments.

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