Airbus A321 Spotting Guide


The first derivative of the Airbus A320 was the stretched Airbus A321, also known as the Stretched A320A320-500 and A325. The A320 was stretched by 22' 9" into the A321 via plugs in front of and behind the wing. The A321 became the longest fuselage member of the A320 family.

It is a narrow-body, single-aisle airliner, with 6-across seating. Typical 2-class seating capacity is 185 passengers, with a maximum of 236. The 321ceo has a range of 3,200 nm.

The A321 measures 146' 0" (44.51m) in length.

Airbus A321 Background and Development

The first flight of the Airbus A321 occurred in March of 1993, when the prototype, registration F-WWIA, flew with IAE V2500 engines; the second prototype, equipped with CFM56-5B turbofans, flew in May. Lufthansa and Alitalia were the first to order the stretched Airbuses.

Today, the A321 is a major competitor as a replacement aircraft for the Boeing 757 which is no longer in production but remains a popular component in the fleet of many airliners. Its main competitor is the Boeing 737.

The A321 features an identical flightdeck to the smaller A319 and A320, and has the same type rating as those aircraft.

As of May 2017, a total of over 1,500 A321 aircraft have been delivered. Nearly 1,700 are on order. The A321 is assembled in Hamburg, Germany, and Mobile, Alabama in the U.S.

Airbus A321 Models

Two models have been built: the A321-100 and the A321-200, an extended range version of the -100. The -200 has higher thrust engines and an additional fuel tank, resulting in an increase in range by 350 nautical miles. Externally, the two models are the same.

Newer versions of the original A321ceo (Current Engine Option) include the A321neo (New Engine Option) and the A321LR (Long Range), and feature "sharklets" on the wing tips to improve performance.

The A321 order book is impressive, with 1,672 firm orders for aircraft, including 258 A321ceo and 1,414 A321neo as of May 2017.

American Airlines has the largest A321 fleet, with over 200 airliners.

Airlines Operating the Airbus A321

Over 100 airlines worldwide operate the A321. Shown below are operators with 20 or more A321 aircraft in their fleet (as of May 2017):

Airline Number of A321 Airliners
American Airlines 212
China Southern Airlines 93
China Eastern Airlines 70
Turkish Airlines 68
Lufthansa 63
Air China 58
Vietnam Airlines 57
JetBlue 42
Aeroflot 35
Monarch Airlines 25
Thomas Cook Airlines 21
Air France 20
Delta Air Lines 20

 

Airbus A321 Spotting Guide

The A321 has two engines under the wings, two dual-wheel main landing gear, four cabin doors along the fuselage, and the classic Airbus nose featuring the "notched" window.
The A321 has two engines under the wings, two dual-wheel main landing gear, four doors along the fuselage, and the classic Airbus nose featuring the "notched" window.

The Airbus A321 features typical A320-series characteristics including the "rounded nose" and windshield straight across the bottom, and rear cockpit windshield window "notched" at the top corner.
The Airbus A321 features typical A320-series characteristics including the "rounded nose" and windshield straight across the bottom, and rear windshield window "notched"

The photo below of an Air France A321 shows its landing gear arrangement and wing design.
Photo of Air France A321 showing the landing gear arrangement and wing design

Chart showing a side-by-side comparison of the
Airbus A321 (top) and the Boeing 757 (bottom).

Note that the A321 has two 2-wheel main gear assemblies, while the 757 has two 4-wheel landing gear.

Side-by-side comparison of the Airbus A321 and the Boeing 757

Airliner Spotting Guide for the Airbus A320 Family

The Airbus A321 is part of a short-to-medium range, twin-engine, narrow-bodied A320 series.

The family includes the original A320, the stretched Airbus A321 (1994), the shortened A319 (1996), and the A318 (2003) (seen below).

Spotting guide for the Airbus A320 family of jetliners

Airbus A321 Photographs

Scandinavian Airlines Airbus A321-200
Scandinavian Airlines Airbus A321-200

Air France Airbus A321, Registration F-GTAJ
Air France Airbus A321, Registration F-GTAJ

Lufthansa Airbus A321
Lufthansa Airbus A321

LAN Airbus A321
LAN Airbus A321

Airbus A321 of American Airlines landing at San Francisco International Airport (SFO) in California
Airbus A321 of American Airlines landing at San Francisco International Airport (SFO) in California

Thomas Cook Airbus A321
Lufthansa Airbus A321

AtlasJet Airbus A321
AtlasJet Airbus A321

Airbus A321neo Prototype Takeoff
Airbus A321neo Prototype Takeoff

Airbus A321neo with Airbus Cabin Flex (ACF) Configuration

This configuration has door 2 removed, and replaced by a double-overwing exit. Also in this configuration, door 3 is moved further aft. This configuration is reported to allow a maximum passenger capacity of 240. Airbus and Saab are working on the design and manufacture of ACF components. (Image courtesy of the Saab Group)

Airbus A321neo with Airbus Cabin Flex (ACF) Configuration

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