For the longest time, airlines have been gouging passengers with outrageous airfares, for a while claiming that high energy costs were driving up overhead. But when OPEC opened up the taps, causing oil prices to drop, that was no longer an excuse. Instead, while airfares remained stable, other accessory costs, namely baggage and carry-on fees, were hustled in to help the bottom line.
But now, things have become a lot more competitive, as consumers are finding other airline options providing a better bang for their buck. The latest player to the table comes via France-based Airbus, which might be instrumental in lowering trans-Atlantic fares.
The company claims it'll make good on that promise courtesy of the latest acquisition to its fleet, namely the A321LR plane. After a successful test flight between Paris and New York back in February, Airbus can hardly wait before the plane is put into commercial service before the end of 2018. Apparently, neither can consumers, since less fuel use leads to lower fuel costs and cheaper airfares.
Why the company's hopes are flying with the new plane is that the A321LR is incredibly fuel efficient compared to larger craft like the Boeing 747 currently operating on oceanic flights. The plane is capable flying for eight hours, covering some 4,000 nautical miles, before it needs to refuel.
And the plane's track record for efficiency has already been getting thumbs-up approval from companies like Norwegian Airlines and WOW Air, who have been using the craft for already a year. Around 50 airlines have already put in nearly 2,000 orders for the A321LR for transatlantic flights.
Planes like the A321LR, currently the world's longest single-aisle plane operating in the skies, are also jeopardizing the future of the Boeing 747 and other wide-body craft. As far back as 2016, Boeing claimed it was only building one plane a month and is even considering a permanent stoppage in making more jumbo jets, once dubbed the Queen of the Skies.
Airbus is considering transatlantic destinations in cities with airports unable to accommodate those jumbos, which makes the A321LR even more resourceful. The company's hoping to tread the same paths as Norwegian and WOW, which already has flights between Connecticut and Rhode Island to UK destinations like Dublin, Belfast and Edinburgh.