IAG International Airlines Group has confirmed that Aer Lingus (EI, Dublin International) will no longer be the launch operator of the A321-200NY(XLR) following a pilot pay dispute that was not resolved in time.

In a statement sent to ch-aviation, the holding company confirmed that “Aer Lingus has not been able to give IAG the assurances needed on cost structure to ensure the returns required to invest in its fleet. IAG has decided that the Airbus XLR, planned to be assigned to Aer Lingus for delivery in September 2024, will no longer be assigned to Aer Lingus.”

Additionally, IAG said that it will only make fleet investments where it makes commercial sense to do so and where it can generate a return, adding that no decision has been made yet on future XLR deliveries. IAG ordered fourteen A321neo(XLR)s, six of which were destined for Aer Lingus and eight for Iberia (IB, Madrid Barajas).

Meanwhile, Spanish newspaper El País reported that Iberia will induct the A321XLR in the fourth quarter of this year and could use it to open up destinations such as Atlanta Hartsfield Jackson, Orlando International, Philadelphia International, and Charleston International.

A321XLR msn 11504 features Iberia’s livery on its tail and winglets. However, msn 11348 (rumoured to be the first airframe of the type delivered and due to become EI-XLR) still has the Aer Lingus’s decals on its tail and wings.

In March, ch-aviation reported that Aer Lingus and the Irish Airline Pilots’ Association (IALPA) were in the midst of a pay increase dispute wherein pilots sought a wage raise of more than 20%, while the carrier was not willing to budge beyond 8.5%. The dispute is currently in Ireland’s Labour Court, which is expected to deliver its recommendation in the next few days.

Airbus has 496 firm orders for the A321XLR, which has not yet received its type certificate. IndiGo Airlines (6E, Delhi International) is the largest customer of the variant, with 69 on order.