Two of three Airbus A220s bound for Air Austral have stopped off in Toulouse en-route to their new home in Réunion. The two aircraft are expected to be joined by the third and final aircraft shortly. The last aircraft is currently in the French capital city, Paris.
While Air France is eagerly awaiting the delivery of its first Airbus A220, Réunion’s Air Austral just edged in as the first operator to take delivery of the smaller Airbus product. Over the course of a week, the airline took delivery of all three aircraft on order.
En route stop-off
According to Airbus, the A220-300 has a range of 3,400 nautical miles (6,297 km). However, the distance from Airbus’ A220 plant in Mirabel to Air Austral’s home in Réunion is 7,933 nautical miles (14,692 km). It doesn’t take a genius to figure out that the aircraft won’t make it all the way on one tank of fuel. As such, a stopover is required en-route.
There are many airports where the A220s could’ve stopped to collect fuel, although one is far more significant than the others, Toulouse. Toulouse is the home of Airbus and, alongside the airline’s Finkenwerder plant in Hamburg, is where most of its aircraft are made.
The journey from Mirabel to Toulouse has itself been broken up during the aircraft’s delivery flights. Having departed from Mirabel, the aircraft completed a short one-hour hop across to Moncton on the east coast of Canada. The planes then hopped across the Atlantic to the French capital, Paris. Following this 5+ hour flight was another short hour-long hop to Toulouse.
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Onwards from Toulouse?
So far, F-OLAV and F-OMER have made it as far as Toulouse. F-OTER has only made it as far as Paris at the time of writing. Theoretically, the Airbus A220s wouldn’t have enough range to make it non-stop from Toulouse to Réuinion. It is unclear where the aircraft may stop en route to Reunion.
It seems as though that won’t be an immediate issue, though. French language publication Air-Journal.fr reports that the airline’s pilots will undergo training on the three aircraft in Toulouse before they are ferried across to their new island home, where they should arrive on August 12th.
The three Airbus A220s
As mentioned, the airline has three Airbus A220-300 aircraft now. According to ch-aviation.com, the oldest, F-OLAV, took its first flight on January 28th, making it half a year old. The youngest, F-OTER, is only 0.1 years old, taking its first flight on June 27th. Finally, F-OMER is 0.32 years old, having first flown on April 9th.
What do you make of Air Austral’s Airbus A220 delivery route? Let us know what you think and why in the comments down below!