Airbus says its corporate jet configured ACJ319neo operated a flight that lasted more than 16 hours as part of the aircraft’s flight test program.
The flight from Airbus’s Toulouse headquarters to Greenland and back on April 26 took 16 hours and 10 minutes, Airbus said in a statement on Monday (European time).
Airbus said it was the longest flight by an A320neo family aircraft operated by an Airbus crew, eclipsing the previous mark of 15 hours and 15 minutes set by an ACJ319 in 1999.
The flight also included a simulated diversion under 180-minute extended operations (ETOPS) rules, which the A320 family of aircraft is already certified for.
(The 180-minute ETOPS certification means the aircraft can be flown on a route that keeps it within three hours flying time on a single engine from an alternate airport in the event of an engine failure.)
The aircraft used for the record-breaking flight is earmarked for delivery to Germany-based K5 Aviation and has five additional centre tanks in the cargo hold. It will fitted a VVIP cabin interior by Fokker Techniek in the Netherlands after being delivered.
“We want to fly customers to their destination using the quickest routes, as well as delivering unsurpassed comfort and service, and it’s impressive to see such long-range capability at first hand,” K5 Aviation chief executive and chief pilot Erik Scheidt, who participated in the flight, said.
Airbus commenced flight tests of the ACJ319neo, which is the corporate jet version of the A319neo, on April 24.
The flight test program aimed to verify some specific features of the aircraft designed for corporate use, such as extra fuel tanks in its cargo-hold that allow for intercontinental operations.
Airbus said it had 14 orders for corporate jet versions of its A320neo family of aircraft. Further, the company had about 200 corporate jets in service around the world.
“Airbus’ modern aircraft family takes the world in its stride with robust reliability, and corporate jet operators are natural beneficiaries of this airliner heritage, which also brings comparable operating costs to traditional business jets,” ACJ President Benoit Defforge said in the statement.
Long-range operations were also part of the flight test program for the commercial passenger variant of the A320neo family of aircraft. In March 2018, an Airbus A321LR was flown on a nonstop flight from Mahe in the Seychelles islands to Toulouse, covering a total distance of 4,750nm in 11 hours.
In addition to the 16-member flight test crew, the cabin also included 162 “human heat-replicating dummy passengers”, Airbus said at the time.