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From SKYbrary Wiki
Name A-321
Manufacturer AIRBUS
Body Narrow
Wing Fixed Wing
Position Low wing
Tail Regular tail, mid set
WTC Medium
Type code L2J
Aerodrome Reference Code 4C
RFF Category 7
Engine Jet
Engine count Multi
Position Underwing mounted
Landing gear Tricycle retractable
Mass group 4

Manufacturered as:





Short to medium range single aisle airliner. In service since 1994. There are two version: 100 and 200. MTOW for the A321-100 is 83,000kg182,983.677 lbs
83 tonnes
optional 85,000kg187,392.923 lbs
85 tonnes
. MTOW for the A321-200 is 89,000kg196,211.413 lbs
89 tonnes
optional 93,500kg206,132.215 lbs
93.5 tonnes
. The A321 is the stretched fuselage variant of the A320 family of aircraft. A321 has Approach Category C to 75.5 tonnes MLW and D beyond that to 77.8 tonnes. A new "neo" (new engine option) series of the A320 family was developed since 2010 with first aircraft being delivered in 2016. The "neo" aircraft feature new engines (PW 1100G or CFM LEAP-1A) and a new type of wingtips, called "sharklets". The existing aircraft are referred to as "ceo" by Airbus, meaning "current engine option".

Note: While a "ceo" aircraft may or may not be equipped with sharklets, all "neo" aircraft are equipped with sharklets. The sharklet version features a 1.7m wider wingspan.

Technical Data

Wing span 35.8 m117.454 ft
Length 44.51 m146.03 ft
Height 11.76 m38.583 ft
Powerplant 2 x CFM56-5B1 (133kN) or
2 x IAE V2530-A5 (133kN) turbofans.
Engine model CFM International CFM56, International Aero Engines V2500

Performance Data

Take-Off Initial Climb
(to 5000 ft)
Initial Climb
(to FL150)
Initial Climb
(to FL240)
MACH Climb Cruise Initial Descent
(to FL240)
(to FL100)
Descent (FL100
& below)
V2 (IAS) 145 kts IAS 175 kts IAS 290 kts IAS 290 kts MACH 0.78 TAS 450 kts MACH 0.78 IAS 290 kts IAS kts Vapp (IAS) 134 kts
Distance 2210 m ROC 2500 ft/min ROC 2000 ft/min ROC 1800 ft/min ROC 1000 ft/min MACH 0.79 ROD 1000 ft/min ROD 2500 ft/min MCS 210 kts Distance 1600 m
MTOW 8900089,000 kg
89 tonnes
Ceiling FL410 ROD ft/min APC C
WTC M Range 33003,300 nm
6,111,600 m
6,111.6 km
20,051,181.117 ft

Accidents & Serious Incidents involving A321

  • A319 / A321, en-route, west north west of Geneva, Switzerland 2011 (On 6 August 2011 an Easyjet Airbus A319 on which First Officer Line Training was in progress exceeded its cleared level during the climb after a different level to that correctly read back was set on the FMS. As a result, it came into conflict with an Alitalia A321 and this was resolved by responses to coordinated TCAS RAs. STCA alerts did not enable ATC resolution of the conflict and it was concluded that a lack of ATC capability to receive Mode S EHS DAPs - since rectified - was a contributory factor to the outcome.)
  • A321 / B734, Barcelona Spain, 2015 (On 25 November 2015, an Airbus A321 taxiing for departure at Barcelona was cleared across an active runway in front of an approaching Boeing 737 with landing clearance on the same runway by a Ground Controller unaware that the runway was active. On reaching the lit stop bar protecting the runway, the crew queried their clearance and were told to hold position. Noting that the event had occurred at the time of a routine twice-daily runway configuration change and two previous very similar events in 2012 and 2014, further safety recommendations on risk management of runway configuration change were made.)
  • A321 / B738, Dublin Ireland, 2011 (On 21 May 2011, a Monarch Airlines A321 taxiing for departure at Dublin inadvertently taxied onto an active runway after failing to follow its taxi clearance. The incursion was not noticed by ATC but the crew of a Boeing 737 taking off from the same runway did see the other aircraft and initiated a very high speed rejected take off stopping 360 metres from it. The incursion occurred in a complex manoeuvring area to a crew unfamiliar with the airport at a location which was not a designated hot spot. Various mitigations against incursions at this position have since been implemented.)
  • A321, Daegu South Korea, 2006 (On 21 February 2006, an Airbus A321-200 being operated by China Eastern on a scheduled passenger flight from Daegu to Shanghai Pudong failed to follow the marked taxiway centreline when taxiing for departure in normal daylight visibility and a wing tip impacted an adjacent building causing minor damage to both building and aircraft. None of the 166 occupants were injured.)
  • A321, Hakodate Japan, 2002 (On 21 January 2002, an Airbus A321-100 being operated by All Nippon Airways on a scheduled passenger flight from Nagoya to Hakodate encountered sudden negative windshear just prior to planned touchdown and the pitch up which followed resulted in the aft fuselage being damaged prior to the initiation of a climb away to position for a further approach which led to a normal landing. Three of the cabin crew sustained minor injuries but the remaining 90 occupants were uninjured.)
  • A321, Hurghada Egypt, 2013 (On 28 February 2013, the initial night landing attempt of a Ural Airlines Airbus A321 at Hurghada was mishandled in benign conditions resulting in a tail strike due to over-rotation. The Investigation noted that a stabilised approach had been flown by the First Officer but found that the prescribed recovery from the effects of a misjudged touchdown had not then been followed. It was also concluded that communication between the two pilots had been poor and that the aircraft commander's monitoring role had been ineffective. The possibility of the effects of fatigue was noted.)
  • A321, Incheon South Korea, 2013 (On 16 April 2013, an A321 sustained significant damage during a tail strike during a bounced landing which followed loss of airspeed and an increase in sink rate shortly before touchdown after an otherwise stabilised approach. The Investigation attributed the tail strike to a failure to follow the recommended bounced landing response and noted the inadequate training provided by Asiana for bounced landing recovery.)
  • A321, Manchester UK, 2008 (1) (On 18 July 2008, an Airbus A321-200 operated by Thomas Cook Airlines experienced hard landing during night line training with significant aircraft damage not found until several days later. The hard landing was subsequently partially attributed to the inability to directly observe the trainee pitch control inputs on side stick of the A321.)
  • A321, Manchester UK, 2008 (2) (On 28 July 2008, the crew flying an Airbus A321-200 departing Manchester UK were unable to raise the landing gear. The fault was caused by damage to the Nose Landing Gear sustained on the previous flight which experienced a heavy landing.)
  • A321, Manchester UK, 2011 (1) (On 29 April 2011, an Airbus A321-200 being operated by Thomas Cook Airlines on a passenger service from Manchester UK to Iraklion, Greece took off in day VMC but failed to establish a climb at the expected speed until the aircraft pitch attitude was reduced below that prescribed for the aircraft weight which had been entered into the FMS. No abnormal manoeuvres occurred and none of the 231 occupants were injured.)
  • A321, Manchester UK, 2011 (2) (On 23 December 2011, an Austrian Airlines Airbus A321 sustained a tail strike at Manchester as the main landing gear contacted the runway during a night go around initiated at a very low height after handling difficulties in the prevailing wind shear. The remainder of the go around and subsequent approach in similar conditions was uneventful and the earlier tail strike was considered to have been the inevitable consequence of initiating a go around so close to the ground after first reducing thrust to idle. Damage to the aircraft rendered it unfit for further flight until repaired but was relatively minor.)
  • A321, Sandefjord Norway, 2006 (A321 experienced minimal braking action during the daylight landing roll in wet snow conditions and normal visibility and an overrun occurred. The aircraft came to a stop positioned sideways in relation to the runway centreline with the right hand main landing gear 2 metres beyond the limit of the paved surface.)
  • A321, en-route, Gimpo South Korea, 2006 (On 9 June 2006, an Airbus 321-100, operated by Asiana Airlines, encountered a thunderstorm accompanied by Hail around 20 miles southeast of Anyang VOR at an altitude of 11,500 ft, while descending for an approach to Gimpo Airport. The radome was detached and the cockpit windshield was cracked due to impact with Hail.)
  • A321, en-route, Northern Sudan, 2010 (On 24 August 2010, an Airbus A321-200 being operated by British Midland on a scheduled public transport service from Khartoum to Beirut experienced, during cruise at FL360 in night IMC, an electrical malfunction which was accompanied by intermittent loss of the display on both pilots’ EFIS and an uncommanded change to a left wing low attitude. De-selection of the No 1 generator and subsequent return of the rudder trim, which had not previously been intentionally moved, to neutral removed all abnormalities and the planned flight was completed without further event with no damage to the aircraft or injuries to the 49 occupants.)
  • A321, en-route, Vienna Austria, 2003 (On 26th May 2003, a British Midland A321 suffered severe damage from hail en route near Vienna.)
  • A321, en-route, near Pamplona Spain, 2014 (On 5 November 2014, the crew of an Airbus A321 temporarily lost control of their aircraft in the cruise and were unable to regain it until 4000 feet of altitude had been lost. An investigation into the causes is continuing but it is already known that blockage of more than one AOA probe resulted in unwanted activation of high AOA protection which could not be stopped by normal sidestick inputs until two of the three ADRs had been intentionally deactivated in order to put the flight control system into Alternate Law.)
  • A321, vicinity Islamabad Pakistan, 2010 (On 28 July 2010, the crew of an Airbus A321 lost contact with the runway at Islamabad during a visual circling approach and continued in IMC outside the protected area and flying into terrain after repeatedly ignoring EGPWS Terrain Alerts and PULL UP Warnings. The Investigation concluded that the Captain had pre-planned a non-standard circuit which had been continued into IMC and had then failed to maintain situational awareness, control the aircraft through correct FMU inputs or respond to multiple EGPWS Warnings. The inexperienced First Officer appeared unwilling to take control in the absence of corrective action by the Captain.)
  • A321, vicinity Singapore, 2010 (On 27 May 2010 an Airbus A321-200 being operated by Australian operator JetStar on a passenger flight from Darwin to Singapore continued an initial approach at destination in day VMC with the aircraft inappropriately configured before a late go around was commenced which was also flown in a configuration contrary to prescribed SOPs. A subsequent second approach proceeded to an uneventful landing. There were no unusual or sudden manoeuvres during the event and no injuries to the occupants.)
  • B732 / A321, Manchester UK, 2004 (On 29 February 2004, a Boeing 737-200 crossed an active runway in normal daylight visibility ahead of a departing Airbus A321, the crew of which made a high speed rejected take off upon sighting the other aircraft after hearing its crossing clearance being confirmed. Both aircraft were found to have been operating in accordance with their acknowledged ATC clearances issued by the same controller. An alert was generated by the TWR conflict detection system but it was only visually annunciated and had not been noticed. Related ATC procedures were subsequently reviewed and improved.)
  • B738/A321, Prague Czech Republic, 2010 (On 18 June 2010 a Sun Express Boeing 737-800 taxiing for a full length daylight departure from runway 06 at Prague was in collision with an Airbus 321 which was waiting on a link taxiway leading to an intermediate take off position on the same runway. The aircraft sustained damage to their right winglet and left horizontal stabiliser respectively and both needed subsequent repair before being released to service.)
  • B744 / A321, London Heathrow UK, 2004 (On 23 March 2004, an out of service British Airways Boeing 747-400, under tow passed behind a stationary Airbus A321-200 being operated by Irish Airline Aer Lingus on a departing scheduled passenger service in good daylight visibility and the wing tip of the 747 impacted and seriously damaged the rudder of the A321. The aircraft under tow was cleared for the towing movement and the A321 was holding position in accordance with clearance. The towing team were not aware of the collision and initially, there was some doubt in the A321 flight deck about the cause of a ‘shudder’ felt when the impact occurred but the cabin crew of the A321 had felt the impact shudder and upon noticing the nose of the 747 appearing concluded that it had struck their aircraft. Then the First Officer saw the damaged wing tip of the 747 and informed ATC about the possible impact. Later another aircraft, positioned behind the A321, confirmed the rudder damage. At the time of the collision, the two aircraft involved were on different ATC frequencies.)
  • B744 / A321, vicinity London Heathrow UK, 2000 (On 28 April 2000, a British Airways Boeing 747-400 on go around at London Heathrow Airport, UK, had a loss of separation vertically from a British Midland A321 stationary on the runway waiting for take-off.)
  • B772 / A321, London Heathrow UK, 2007 (On 27 July 2007, a British Airways Boeing 777-200ER collided, during pushback, with a stationary Airbus A321-200. The A321 was awaiting activation of the electronic Stand Entry Guidance (SEG) and expecting entry to its designated gate.)
  • EUFI / A321, en-route, near Clacton UK, 2008 (On 15 October 2008, following participation in a military exercise over East Anglia (UK), a formation of 2 foreign Eurofighters entered busy controlled airspace east north east of London without clearance while in the process of trying to establish the required initial contact with military ATC, resulting in loss of prescribed separation against several civil aircraft.)

Further Reading