For those who missed it last week, we did too. And of course, because the plane didn’t land anywhere, while crossing half the globe. Flying high, Emirates just finished the first flight of its regular service on what is now the world’s longest non-stop air route.
Flying from Dubai, United Arab Emirates, to Auckland, New Zealand, one of the company’s many Airbus A380s opened the service. Covering 8,819 miles (14,193 km) the flight landed on 2 March 2016 after about 17 hours and 15 minutes in the air. Emirates now beats Australian Qantas, which provides a regular service between Dallas, Texas (USA), and Sydney, Australia. This second longest non-stop air route is ‘only’ 8,576 miles (13,802 km) and lasts about 16 hours and 55 minutes.
Beat the records
At the end of March Emirates adds another record to its increasingly impressive portfolio: the world’s longest non-stop air route time wise. It will be the Southwest Asian’s first service to Latin America and will bring passengers from Dubai to Panama City and vice versa in a planned 17 timer and 35 minutes – but could very well be close to 15 hours when the tailwinds are good. The biggest competition in the record business will come from Qatar, due to launch record challenging services from Qatar to Santiago (Chile) and Auckland (New Zealand) in 2016 that will beat others.
The Airbus A380 used to open the longest non-stop route measured in distance was part of the show. Emirates will normally operate the Boeing 777-200LR on this line.
As reported earlier this week, Iran went shopping in Toulouse this week. The numbers announced on Thursday 28 January are even bigger than previously reported, however. Teheran ordered 118 aircraft in total: 45 single aisle airliners and 73 widebodies, 12 of those A380s.
Airbus released official numbers, showing 21 A320ceo, 24 A320neo family, 27 A330ceo, 18 A330neo, 16 A350-1000 and 12 A380 jets. The agreement includes pilot and maintenance training and support services to help the entry into service and efficient operations of these new aircraft.
The purchase of A380 was mentioned as a future option or wish earlier, but the actual deal for the giant airliner is a big plus for Airbus and of course Iran, and a surprise for others. The end of economic sanctions provides Teheran with the opportunity to modernize the country’s fleet of ageing airliners.
The agreements were signed at the Élysée Palace, Paris, during Iranian President Hassan Rouhani’s official visit to France with French President François Hollande.
In a move that was doing the rounds immediately after international sanctions against Iran were lifted recently, the country on Sunday 24 January confirmed it is buying 114 Airbus airliners to replace its current, dangerously tired fleet of commercial aircraft. The Airbus jets will be used buy Iran Air.
The deal will be signed on Wednesday during a visit to Paris by Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, the Iranian government confirmed.
Iran is looking for A320s and A340s, which is remarkably and a challenge by itself as the A340 is out of production. Teheran said the first aircraft are to be delivered in months, which could indicate the A340s are actually used aircraft. Iran states it is also looking at the A380 for long routes.
Fleet & spare parts
Right now, Iran Air used older A300, A310 and A320 aircraft, along with several Boeing 747-200s and a dozen or so Fokker 100s. Commercial aviation in Iran over the last two decades was known to be a dangerous undertaking due to lack of spare parts. Several deadly crashes have plagued the country. The order for new aircraft is therefore no surprise.
Iran is expected to need several hundred more airplanes to get its commercial fleet into shape.
BOC Aviation, the Singapore-based global aircraft leasing company owned by Bank of China, on Thursday 7 January announced an order for an additional 30 A320 family aircraft, comprising 18 A320neo aircraft and 12 A320ceo aircraft.
“This order underscores our continued confidence in the reliability and operational efficiency of the A320 family aircraft, and reflects its popularity among our customers for short- and medium-haul routes,” said Robert Martin, Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of BOC Aviation.
“BOC Aviation is a leading lessor based in a fast-growing part of the world, and its latest order not only demonstrates its continued confidence in our product for its airline customers but recognizes the A320 as a sound financial asset in its portfolio,” said John Leahy, Airbus Chief Operating Officer, Customers. “We appreciate the mutually beneficial and strong relationship we have built with BOC Aviation over the past 20 years. With this order, BOC Aviation becomes one of Airbus’ top 10 customers.”
Including this latest purchase agreement, BOC Aviation’s cumulative orders to date for new Airbus aircraft have reached a total of 306, comprising 12 A330s and 294 A320 Family, including 64 NEOs.
Airbus delivered a significant number of A400M military transport aircraft to costumers in December, bringing to an end a year marked by the fatal crash of an A400M in Seville on 9 May. The program seems to have overcome the tragedy however.
In December, Germany received both its second and third A400M, while France took delivery of its eight aircraft. Also, Turkey and Malaysia got their hands on their third and second aircraft respectively. The latter was handed over to the Royal Malaysian Air Force in Seville on Wednesday 23 December and will head East soon.
The year 2015 saw four deliveries to the Royal Air Force (RAF), who declared the A400M Atlas C1 ‘ready for worldwide tasks’ last September. Meanwhile, Airbus reports it is making progress in assembling the first aircraft for Spain.