Kuwait Airways Operates The World’s First Passenger A330-800 Flight

Kuwait Airways’ rare A330-800 operated its first commercial flight yesterday (November 20th), flying the short distance between Kuwait and Dubai. This marks the very first revenue flight ever for the type. The airline has eight of the long-range widebody on order, the largest customer for the shorter A330neo.

Kuwait Airways Operates The World’s First Passenger A330-800 Flight
Kuwait Airways’ first two Airbus A330-800neos were delivered to the airline on October 29th. Photo: Airbus

Flight details

The Kuwaiti flag carrier used its newest aircraft on a fairly routine service between Kuwait and Dubai. A simple hop over the Persian Gulf, the distance between the two cities is just 530 miles or 853 kilometers.

Operated by the aircraft registered as 9K-APF, the outbound flight to Dubai was KU671, leaving on November 20th at 11:28. It appears that this service was delayed by roughly 50 minutes. Once the aircraft made its departure, it was just over an hour before it arrived at Dubai International Airport, at 13:32, taking into account a one-hour time difference. The aircraft then spent a short one hour and twenty minutes at Dubai.

The return journey, flight KU672, departed at 14:51 and arrived in Kuwait at 15:17 – a slightly longer flight time of one hour and 26 minutes. The longer flight can mostly be attributed to the orientation of runways and the extra time needed to turn around and get in the right position.

Kuwait A330-800 first flight
A look at the flight path of Kuwait Airways’ first A330-800 commercial flight. Photo: FlightRadar24.com

In February, we covered the busiest international routes of 2019, which indeed included the Kuwait to Dubai sector. In fact, in 2019, this route logged an impressive 14,581 flights.

On the list of 20 busiest international routes, this route was right in the middle at number 10 and the only route in the Middle East region. In 2019 it was served by four different airlines: two budget carriers and two full-service airlines. These would be:

  • Kuwait Airways
  • Emirates
  • Jazeera Airways
  • flydubai

In fact, Emirates operated an astounding 41 weekly flights on this route – as many as six per day! All using its Boeing 777 aircraft.

Two A330-800s were delivered to Kuwait Airways simultaneously. Photo: Airbus

We expect that this service was simply a ‘warm-up’ flight for the airline and not likely a standard route it will be deployed on. It would certainly be a waste of the aircraft’s impressive range of 8,150 nautical miles (15,094 kilometers).

At the end of last month, we wrote about the potential cities the airline’s A330-800s could fly to from Kuwait. Perhaps once the industry recovers, the cities below might be good destinations for Kuwait Airways and its newest long-haul jets. Not only would these be popular vacation destinations for the citizens and residents of Kuwait, but ex-pats and migrant workers could benefit from the direct connection to their home countries.

  • Sydney, Australia: 6,960 nautical miles
  • Johannesburg, South Africa: 3,500 nautical miles
  • Los Angeles, United States: 6,950 nautical miles

Of its existing destinations, flights to London, Guangzhou, or Manila could be good candidates. Once service to New York resumes, the -800 would also fit well for it. This could also be the case for Bangkok in the east, or Paris, Frankfurt, and Milan up north.

We’ll just have to wait and see what the airline has in store.

Where do you think Kuwait Airways will fly its A330-800 next? Give us your best guess in the comments.