The Longest Airbus A321neo Routes This Winter

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Between October 31st and March 26th, the last day of the northern hemisphere winter, 27 A321neo routes are long-haul, based on analyzing schedules information obtained from OAG. This means that only 5% of all A321neo routes are long-haul. Most of these are by the A321LR, but not all, such as American’s Dallas to Anchorage (3,043 miles) and Aeroflot’s Moscow Sheremetyevo to Tenerife South (3,262 miles).

At 3,726 miles, TAP Air Portugal’s service from its Lisbon hub to Brazil’s Belém, a gateway to the mighty Amazon, will be the world’s longest route by the type. Although not fairly comparable, it is 104 miles longer than the longest non-stop 737 route this summer, Icelandair’s Keflavik to Seattle.

Lisbon-Belém replaces what was expected to have been the longest route earlier this year: Stockholm to Chicago, 4,272 miles apart, operated by SAS. The A330-300 and A340-300 will operate this winter. It’ll be interesting to see whether Icelandair does indeed order the A321 to replace its aging 757s, especially on routes to the US West Coast. If it does, there will be a reordering of the longest routes list.

TAP Air Portugal
TAP Air Portugal has the most long-haul A321neo routes. Photo: Simply Aviation via Flickr.

What are the long-haul routes?

Beginning in 2014, Lisbon-Belém initially used the A330-200 and operated triangularly: Lisbon-Manaus-Belem-Lisbon. It became non-stop in 2016, although it wasn’t for another two years that the A321LR entered the scene, OAG confirms.

This demonstrates the ability of an airline to right-size capacity to demand while significantly reducing trip cost versus a widebody. The downside is a higher unit cost, meaning higher fares are needed to break even. This shows the balance between different factors, but the A321LR absolutely could – in the right markets – help to boost performance.

 

Note that another TAP route – Lisbon to Maceió, located between Recife and Salvador – was scheduled to be the longest route this winter. However, it won’t now resume until the first day of summer 2022, a timely reminder of how things can change.

Manchester to the US coming with Aer Lingus

Aer Lingus is one of seven airlines to operate long-haul A321neo routes this winter. It has five routes, with all but one from its Dublin hub. The sole exception is Manchester to New York JFK, due to launch on December 1st by Aer Lingus UK. This new carrier will also operate from Manchester to Orlando and Barbados, using the A330-300.

Aer Lingus A321neo
Aer Lingus’ longest narrowbody route will be Dublin to Washington. Photo: Anna Zvereva via Flickr.

Manchester to New York

New York JFK has historically been Manchester’s second-largest market to the USA after Orlando. In 2017, Manchester-JFK had five airlines and six to New York as a whole if Newark is included, a year in which this city-pair had over half a million seats.

In 2021, only Virgin Atlantic and Aer Lingus will operate, both with a once-daily service. While Virgin will use the A330, Aer Lingus will operate the 184-seat A321LR.