TOULOUSE, FRANCE — Airbus has completed a successful test flight of the A321XLR aircraft, the latest variant of the European planemaker's best-selling A320neo family developed for long-haul routes. The test saw the aircraft fly for over 13 hours without stopping, demonstrating the plane's exceptional fuel efficiency.

Yesterday, the aircraft took off from Toulouse at 8 a.m. local time before making a broad circle in the sky towards the UK and Ireland. It then crossed into Norway before turning south and flying over Berlin, Prague, Rome, and Oslo.After nearing Sicily and passing over Sardinia, it returned to Toulouse, where it landed at about 21:20 local time, after a flight of 13 hours and 15 minutes, according to Airbus.

As part of the flight, the aircraft traced a path which spelled out ‘XLR’ over the Bay of Biscay.

For the test, Airbus used a CFM International Leap-1A-powered prototype with the registration F-WXLR. The A321XLR is intended to allow carriers to add new long-haul routes to their networks that couldn't be operated with existing single-aisle jets in their fleets.

The manufacturer aims to begin deliveries in 2024. With a range of up to 4,700 nautical miles, the A321XLR will be able to accommodate up to 215 passengers in a single-class layout.

The aircraft has so far secured orders for over 500 copies from 22 customers, including the world's major carriers such as American Airlines, United Airlines, Air Canada, and Qantas.

Also read: FAA approves provisions for A321XLR's novel fuel tank to address fire risk