Hexcel is a major supplier of advanced composite materials for the airframe and the CFM International LEAP-1A engine that powered the Airbus A321XLR, which took its maiden flight recently. These innovative lightweight composite materials provide weight savings and performance enhancements that reduce fuel consumption and emissions as well as long-term maintenance costs.
The A320neo family, including the A321 variant, makes extensive use of weight-saving composites supplied by Hexcel. In addition to that Hexcel has also supplied, HexPly carbon fiber prepregs and HexWeb honeycomb to Airbus since the A320 was launched, and the A321XLR benefits from wing tip devices called Sharklets made from Hexcel’s HexPly M21E/IMA. For the LEAP-1A engine, Hexcel supplies HexTow IM7 carbon fiber for all the fan blades and containment cases, in addition to HexPly carbon prepreg and engineered core for the nacelles.
The A321XLR creates more value for the airlines by bringing 30 percent lower fuel burn per seat than previous-generation competitor aircraft. The aircraft will deliver an unprecedented range of up to 4,700nm – 15 percent more than the A321LR and with the same unbeatable fuel efficiency.
With this added range, airlines will be able to operate 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 aircraft. This will enable operators to open new worldwide routes such as India to Europe or China to Australia, as well as further extend the A320neo family’s non-stop reach on direct transatlantic flights between continental Europe and the Americas.