Aegean Airlines (A3, Athens) has announced that four of its outstanding A321-200NX aircraft will be delivered in a new premium configuration for medium-haul routes, to be added to the fleet in 2026 and 2027.

The twinjets will be configured for less than 180 passengers, compared to 220 all-economy seats on Aegean's current A321neo, allowing for them to feature lie-flat business class seats for the first time in the carrier's history. The exact configuration will be unveiled by mid-2024. By equipping the aircraft with additional fuel tanks, the airline will extend the range to up to 7.5 hours of flight time, allowing it to target "non-EU markets".

Aegean Airlines said that the aircraft would be used on routes to the Middle East, both those currently served (Riyadh, Jeddah International, Dubai International) and new (such as Bahrain International, Doha Hamad International, or Muscat), Africa (for example, Addis Ababa International, Lagos, or Nairobi Jomo Kenyatta) and Asia (potentially Delhi International, Mumbai International, or Almaty International). The carrier conceded that as those destinations are served by widebody aircraft by many competitors, its standard European configuration would not be competitive.

"We are making a significant investment in the extended range and a totally new level of comfort for an initial four-aircraft sub-fleet to give our crews the right tool to best represent Aegean values for these longer flight markets," CEO Dimitris Gerogiannis said.

The carrier emphasised that the four extended-range aircraft will not be a new commitment but will come from the existing orderbook. Aegean has a total commitment for twenty-one A320-200neo and twenty-nine A321neo, including both direct orders from Airbus and contracts with lessors, of which it has so far taken sixteen and twelve units, respectively. Its fleet also includes twenty-eight A320-200s and five A321-200s. Aegean Airlines has been adamant that it will not enter the widebody market.