Airbus has unveiled the longest-range variant yet of its A321 narrowbody.

Airbus said the A321XLR (extralong-range) will have a maximum range of 4,700 nautical miles, 15% more than the A321LR, which entered service last year. 

"With this added range, airlines will be able to operate a lower-cost single-aisle aircraft on longer and less heavily traveled routes -- many of which can now only be served by larger and less efficient wide-body aircraft," Airbus said. Examples of routes that the A321XLR could handle include Miami to London, New York to Rome, and Houston to Buenos Aires, according to the company. 

Airbus timed the unveiling with the kickoff of the Paris Air Show on Monday. The aircraft manufacturer also announced that Los Angeles-based Air Lease Corporation has ordered 27 XLRs. Airbus expects deliveries of the aircraft to begin in 2023.

The A321XLR will carry 180 to 220 passengers in typical two-class configuration. Fuel burn, the company said, will be 30% less per seat than the A321neo. The resulting improved flight economics will couple with the XLRs added range to make longer-range single-aisle flights more viable for airlines. 

Airbus said that compared with the A321LR, the XLR has a redesigned rear fuel tank with more volume as well as modified landing gear for increased maximum take-off weight. 

For the past few years, Boeing has been weighing the introduction of a new midsize airplane that would replace its 757 and 767 line and compete in a similar space as the A321LR. But with Monday's announcement, Airbus has beat its competitor to the punch. 

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