- As you know, Icelandair plans to replace its aging Boeing 757 with Airbus A321XLR.
- The carrier says they can cover it. “more or less” Throughout North America, “Unique position”
- The A321XLR has a theoretical range of 4,700 nautical miles, but actual performance reduces this.
Icelandair has a long history of using narrow-body aircraft on long-haul routes. That’s bread and butter. As we’ve written previously, the company’s Airbus A321XLR will replace the aging Boeing 757 fleet. “XLR is very excited about the new airline’s performance,” said Matthias Sveinbjörnsson, the company’s head of revenue management and pricing, who is also a 757/767 pilot for Icelandair, at Route Europe in Istanbul. “can more” [emphasis is mine] than 757.
Icelandair’s next A321
Located on the outskirts of Europe, the continent’s edge is the perfect location for long-range narrowbody aircraft, Icelandair’s A321XLR is scheduled to begin arriving in 2029. There are 13 aircraft on firm order, but Sveinbjornsson did not mention this number. Instead, he said his 25 XLRs. This refers to items that are firm ordered and available as options.
Photo: James Pearson | Simple Flight
The airline plans to lease four A321LRs in 2025, but they do not have the capacity to replace the 757. It’s no wonder Icelandair chose XLR, but actual performance is often very different from what was promised and we won’t know until it enters service. . This is why Sveinbjornsson’s statement is so interesting. He said,
“The A321XLR can do more than the 757. It will cover more or less all of North America. This will mean a unique position for the airline. Other European airlines can reach anywhere as far as North America.” [with narrowbodies].
For XLR, theoretical or brochure range of 4,700 nautical miles (5,408 miles, 8,704 km). As with other aircraft manufacturers that show range, this is a best-case scenario, everything is as light as possible and perfect for showing impressive range. This is an example of one-upmanship.
number of seats and passengers, in-flight services (anything the airline adds adds weight and reduces range), minimal bags, and a brand new frame (which weighs less if changed/repaired over time) (increases and decreases range). In addition, the height of the airport, fuel reserves, headwinds during the flight (especially in winter), flying far above the water surface, etc…
Photo: Wirestock Creators | Shutterstock
It’s impossible to get exact real-world numbers, but 4,600 to 5,000 miles (7,400 to 8,000 km) is probably more realistic. This means Keflavik shipping to Los Angeles, Miami and San Francisco will be possible.
Mexico City and Delhi could theoretically be within range, but I don’t think they’ll start. Icelandair’s current longest eastbound route, which launched in June, was to Tel Aviv, 3,283 miles (5,284 kilometers) away.
always be aware: Sign up for our weekly new routes newsletter.
For some airlines, such as TAP Air Portugal, XLR is more about overcoming the limitations of LR than it is about extending range over LR. To maximize range, airlines must carry additional fuel tanks as needed. This means you can reduce the amount of baggage and cargo you can transport.
Where would you like to fly Icelandair’s XLR? Let us know in the comments.