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Frontier Mulls Transatlantic Destinations With Airbus A321XLR

The low-cost carrier is expecting 18 Airbus A321XLRs planes, paving the way for a potential transatlantic route expansion

by Fergus Cole

October 24, 2022

Cabo de Roco, Portugal, the most western point of Mainland Europe / Photo: Calebowens1/Shutterstock

Frontier Airlines has confirmed that it’s exploring the possibility of operating transatlantic routes for the first time with its new Airbus ultra-long-range jet. The Denver-based carrier will start to take deliveries of 18 Airbus A321XLRs in 2026, a brand new jet that completed its maiden flight in June and won’t carry passengers until 2024.

Speaking at the Routes World 2022 conference in Las Vegas last week, the airline’s CEO, Barry Biffle, said that transatlantic flights were ‘definitely in consideration for the carrier and that the Airbus A321XLR ‘will enable us to fly to Europe, Hawaii, and deeper into South America.’

Although the possibility of flying transatlantic with Frontier Airlines is still a few years away, and so no routes have been confirmed, Biffle did suggest that cities like Philadelphia and Miami could benefit from the expansion.

Speaking of his visit to Airbus’ headquarters in France, Biffle noted, “I was in Toulouse three weeks ago and we were going through what the range enabled you to do from various cities in the northeastern United States. Effectively you’d be able to go from Philadelphia (PHL) to everything in the UK, Scotland, and Ireland, and, of course, you can get into mainland Europe. From Miami (MIA), you can reach just about anywhere in South America.”

Biffle also reiterated that while Frontier is planning long-haul routes in the future, the low-cost airline’s primary focus was still connecting U.S. passengers to nearby destinations, citing a recent announcement of new routes to the Caribbean.

“We’re looking to grow our near-international a lot more,” said Biffle. “We’ve invested considerably in Jamaica, Cancun, and the Caribbean. We just recently announced Denver to Montego Bay (MBJ), for example.”

Photo: Courtesy of Airbus


Even though the exact layout of the new narrowbody Airbus for Frontier hasn’t yet been released, it is expected to be similar to what the airline currently offers. With a maximum range of 4,700 nautical miles, about 30% more than what the Airbus A321neo can reach, it will be the first passenger jet operated by Frontier that will be able to fly over the Atlantic and to the middle part of South America.

In 2019, Indigo Partners, owners of Frontier Airlines, placed an order for 50 Airbus A321XLR planes. The Memorandum of Understanding included orders for 32 A321XLRs and the conversion of 18 existing A320neo family orders.