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Airbus A330-900neo Ends 2021 With New Flight Record Between Madeira and Lisbon

This year is coming to an end with an incredible accomplishment for Airbus and Portuguese charter airline HiFly. An A330-900neo aircraft took off from Madeira on December 30th and arrived at Lisbon, covering 650 miles (1,046 km) in just 70 minutes.
An Airbus A330-900neo taxiing 6 photos
Airbus A330-900neo sets record flight between Madeira and LisbonAirbus A330-900neo sets record flight between Madeira and LisbonAirbus A330-900neo computer renderingAirbus A330-900neo taxiingAirbus A330-900neo cabin interior
The flight was managed by HiFly Commander Carlos Mirpuri, who was assisted by Captain Ruben Morais. There were also two representatives of the FAI (World Air Sports Federation) onboard to certifiy the record flight.

Usually, airliners cover the distance between Madeira and Lisbon in a flight time of 75 to 90 minutes, depending on the runway configuration, the wind direction, and how strong that is. For the recent flight, the plane had to take off from runway 23 in Madeira and land on runway 21 in Lisbon – a combination that was not on HiFly’s side.

Previously, Commander Mirpuri had registered 64 minutes with an A320 and 59 minutes with an A330 on the same route. That was possible with a better choice of runways and better tailwinds. Moreover, those flights were not planned for record, so no FAI judges were present.

It’s a different story with the December 30th flight. Although “achieving a record flight time on this route requires a set of conditions that rarely come together,” the commander, along with the crew, managed to cover a 650-mile (1,046-km) distance in 70 minutes with tailwinds averaging 40 mph (65 mph).

“70 minutes wheels up time with this runway combination is an amazing time”, Mirpuri said. He did it, ending 2021 in glory for HiFly with an Airbus A330-900neo, the A330neo family’s largest aircraft.

The A330-900 keeps the length of the fuselage found on the A330-300 variant. Up to 300 passengers can be seated in a three-class layout or up to 460 in economy class. In terms of performance, the plane is capable of covering distances of up to 8,286 miles (13,334 km).

That was possible thanks to the latest Rolls-Royce Trent 7000 engines, new technologies, and multiple improvements designed to increase lift and reduce drag. As a result, the aircraft is also more sustainable when compared to its predecessor.

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