Boeing Co has raised concerns over the design of rival Airbus’ newest A321XLR jets, saying a novel type of fuel tank could pose fire risks.
In a submission to the European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA), Boeing said the design of a fuel tank intended to increase the A321XLR’s range “presents many potential hazards.”
The concern surrounds the A321XLR’s main marketing point – the longest range of any single-aisle jet.
For the A321XLR, Airbus plans to stretch out more space for fuel by moulding one tank directly into the fuselage, meaning its shape would follow the contours of the jet and carry more fuel to meet demand for longer routes.
The concept caught the attention of EASA and said it would impose special conditions to keep passengers safe. An integral fuselage fuel tank exposed to fire might not provide enough time for passengers to evacuate the aircraft safely.
Airbus and Boeing have a record of gloating each other in the past over issues like novel flight computers on the Airbus A320.