November 26, 2018 / 2:34 PM / 15 days ago

Airbus hints at decision on proposed A321XLR jet next year

Guillaume Faury, President of Airbus Commercial Aircraft, delivers a speech during the delivery of the first A330neo commercial passenger aircraft for TAP Air Portugal airline at the Airbus delivery center in Colomiers near Toulouse, France, November 26, 2018. REUTERS/Regis Duvignau

TOULOUSE, France (Reuters) - The incoming chief executive of Europe’s Airbus hinted on Monday at a decision next year on whether to launch the A321XLR, a longer-range version of its best-selling A321 single-aisle jet.

Asked on the sidelines of a delivery ceremony in Toulouse whether Airbus planned to launch the proposed new variant, planemaking chief and CEO-designate Guillaume Faury said: “I will be more precise in 2019.”

He declined further comment on the reported project.

Reuters first reported in June that Airbus is considering adding extra endurance to the longest-range version of its A321 as part of efforts to pre-empt a potential new mid-market jet being studied by U.S. rival Boeing (BA.N).

Next year is also when Boeing intends to make a decision on the future of that project.

Airbus’s proposed new A321XLR would carry extra fuel and expand the range of the A321LR aircraft, which recently claimed a long-distance record for single-aisle jets in testing.

Faury is due to step up from the planemaking business to replace Tom Enders as CEO of Europe’s largest aeropace group in April 2019.

Reporting by Tim Hepher; Editing by Luke Baker

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