Airbus A321neo: Air India inducts its first-ever, latest-gen narrowbody aircraft

The Airbus A321neo (New Engine Option) is an extended-variant of the popular A320 family of aircrafts, with advanced engines, fuel efficiency traits, and spacious interiors to seat about 180-220 passengers in comfort.

A321neo Air India
Airbus A321neo. Image for representation purposes only.

Although the Airbus A321neo entered service in 2017 internationally and was introduced by Indigo in India way back in 2018, Air India is just inducting the latest variant of the popular A320 family. It might even surprise most of us that the flag carrier of the country never had a A321neo before, despite its single-aisle fleet comprising fully of A320s!

The company recently announced the welcoming of its first A321neo (VT-RTD) powered by CFM LEAP 1A engines, which earlier flew from Airbus’ facility in Hamburg. It is likely that the aircraft is part of the airline’s massive 250 aircraft order placed with Airbus, which includes 70 units of A321neo aircrafts as well.

It is reported that this plane was destined to be delivered for Russian low-cost airline Smartavia, but with international sanctions in place due to the country’s war on Ukraine, the manufacturer has diverted the orders to other airlines.

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It is to be noted that Air India already has 14 numbers of A321-200 (ceo) aircrafts in its fleet, out of 70 narrowbody A320 family planes. The latest addition will be the 71st single-aisle, narrowbody aircraft which is expected to cater to the airline’s domestic operations.

Airbus claims that the A321neo is the variant in its best-selling A320 family featuring the longest-fuselage, resulting in increased seating capacity of 180 to 220 passengers in a typical two-class interior layout, and as many as 244 seats in a higher-density arrangement.

The commercial aircraft measures 44.51 m long overall, with a cabin length of 34.44 m and fuselage width of The commercial aircraft measures 44.51 m long overall, with a cabin length of 34.44 m and cabin width 3.70 m.

But what actually differentiates the A321neo (‘New Engine Option’) with the A321ceo (‘Current Engine Option’) are its advanced engine choices and large fuel-saving ‘Sharklets‘ on both the wings as standard feature. The aircraft comes with either CFM International’s LEAP-1A and Pratt & Whitney’s PurePower PW1100G-JM geared turbofan jet engine.

Air India first A321neo
Air India’s first A321neo aircraft.

Airbus claims that the A321neo boasts a per-seat fuel improvements of 20 percent, along with additional range of up to 500nm or two tonnes of extra payload. The aircraft’s maximum flying range is said to be 7,400 km, with a max flying speed of 0.82 Mach and fuel capacity of 32,940 litres.

The aerodynamic sharklets on the wings and fuel-efficient engines of the A321neo also ensure a 30 percent lower fuel burn per seat and a noise footprint about 50 percent lower for passengers and airports, adds the manufacturer.

Image Credits: Airbus, Air India

Dhiyanesh Ravichandran

Editorial consultant (Automotive and Technology), academic, and blogger based in India. He can be reached at

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