February 4 2019  |  Airline & Terminal News

American receives first long-range A321

By Rick Lundstrom

ViaSat Wi-Fi will be installed on the new A321neo and passengers will access IFE off their personal electronic devices

After an 8.5-hour nonstop journey from Hamburg, aircraft N400AN, American Airlines’ first A321neo, touched down shortly before noon February 1 at Pittsburgh International Airport. After clearing customs, the plane will head to American’s Base Maintenance facility at PIT, where it will spend a couple of weeks undergoing extensive acceptance checks conducted whenever the airline adds a new aircraft type to its fleet.

The Tech Ops – PIT team will install ViaSat satellite Wi-Fi, conduct general “ops checks” and add interior and exterior placards as they customize the aircraft for American. After that, it will visit other American bases before entering service.

The jets seat 196 people and, in addition to the fast Wi-Fi, include power at every seat and free wireless entertainment to each passenger’s personal electronic device including free live television.

American is the launch customer for Airbus’ new 1 XL overhead bins, which significantly increase capacity. The A321neo is American’s first aircraft delivered with these bins and the company will begin retrrofitting existing A321s with this same bin later this year. American is taking the “Cabin Flex,” or “NX,” option of the A321neo, which has a new door configuration.

The A321neo is part of the order for 460 aircraft placed by American in 2011, which also included 100 737 MAX aircraft. The aircraft from that order have transformed American’s fleet into the youngest among U.S. network

The A321neo is scheduled to begin flying passengers April 2 between Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport (PHX) in Arizona and Orlando International Airport (MCO) in Florida. Once the company takes more deliveries, additional routes will include Phoenix–Anchorage (ANC) in Alaska over the summer, and Phoenix to Los Angeles to Hawaii later this year as the A321neo begins to replace retiring 757s.

The A321neo (which stands for “new engine option”) adds about 400 nautical miles in range thanks to improved fuel burn from the new engines, putting additional destinations within reach. American has ordered 100 of these jets with deliveries running over the next several years.

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