US Airways becomes the first U.S. airline to fly the Airbus A321 on Sunday when the 169-seat aircraft takes off from Philadelphia for Los Angeles at 8:10 a.m.
With 26 seats in First Class and 143 in Economy Class, the A321 is the largest of the A320-family of aircraft. US Airways also flies the 120-seat A319 and the 142-seat A320, making it the only airline in the U.S. to fly all three aircraft in the family. The US Airways Shuttle now operates an all-Airbus fleet.
“The A321 will give US Airways` customers a new dimension of comfort for transcontinental flights and for service to and from heavily traveled destinations such as Florida. With their wider cabins and smooth ride, our new Airbus fleet has been very well received by our customers and our flight crews alike. By the middle of this month we will have 100 of these aircraft deployed in domestic and international service,” said US Airways President and CEO Rakesh Gangwal.
Currently, US Airways operates 66 A319s, 24 A320s, seven A330-300s and one A321. A total of 23 A321s are scheduled to enter the fleet during 2001, along with two more A330-300s.
In addition to a common cockpit, which vastly simplifies pilot training and scheduling, US Airways` A320-family aircraft also have common cabin fittings, such as seats, overhead bins, galleys and lavatories, simplifying cabin service and maintenance.
The in-flight entertainment system features dropdown screens every two rows in First Class and every three rows in Economy Class, laptop power ports at every seat, steam ovens for meal preparation, and baby changing tables in all lavatories.
The US Airways A321 will have a maximum range of 2,800 nautical miles and a weight of 205,000 pounds, giving it enhanced transcontinental capability. US Airways has selected the CFM 56-5B3 engine for use on its A321s. CFM engines are made in collaboration by General Electric and Snecma of France.
US Airways, US Airways Express, US Airways Shuttle, and low-fare MetroJet fly to 202 destinations worldwide, including 38 states in the U.S., Bermuda, Cancun, Grand Cayman, Montego Bay, Nassau, San Juan, St. Thomas, St. Maarten, St. Croix, and the Canadian destinations of Toronto, Montreal, Ottawa and Hamilton. US Airways` transatlantic destinations include Frankfurt, London, Madrid, Manchester, Munich, Paris and Rome. Service to Amsterdam resumes on April 11, 2001 and service to Brussels will be launched on May 9, 2001.
Reporters needing additional information should contact US Airways Corporate Communications at (703) 872-5100.