Qantas has made the longest flight ever by an Airbus A330-200 - nonstop from Toulouse, France, to Melbourne, Australia - covering a distance of almost 17,000 km in a flight time of 20 hours and 4 mins.
The flight is believed to have set two new records in its class ? a distance without landing of 16,910 km, and the fastest speed between Toulouse and Melbourne of 865 Km/hr.
The delivery flight of the brand-new A330-200 was flown by four Qantas pilots, carried 12 people in a fully equipped passenger cabin, and followed normal operating procedures, highlighting the fuel efficiency of Airbus aircraft.
Qantas' A330 left Toulouse on 24th December, landed in Melbourne on Christmas day, and entered service today on Qantas domestic services. It is the second of an initial Qantas order for 13 Airbus A330s, which are the backbone of its fleet modernisation on domestic and regional routes.
One of the key reasons that Qantas selected the A330 was that it offered the best economy on short domestic sectors, as well as the range for long nonstop flights to Asia, which are well within ETOPS limits. Qantas is also a launch customer for the Airbus A380, of which it has ordered 12, for deliveries beginning in 2006.
Airbus aircraft have a well-earned reputation for long-range. In October 1992, Airbus pilots flew an A340-300 nonstop from Toulouse to Perth, Australia. And in June 1993 they flew an A340-200 nonstop from Paris to Auckland, New Zealand, and then nonstop back to Paris. The longest previous flight by an A330-200 was made in March 1988, when Airbus pilots flew the aircraft nonstop from Toulouse to Santiago, Chile.
The Airbus A330/A340 family are the most modern and successful airliners in the 250-375 seat class, where they have won the most orders as well as the most customers ? some 750 aircraft from over 60 customers. They consistently lead in independent passenger surveys, as well as offering the best value and appeal in the marketplace.
Airbus is an EADS joint Company with BAE SYSTEMS.