French Bee Beats Longest Domestic Flight Record (Just)

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French carrier French Bee has set a new world record for the longest flight between two French airports. The 16,129 km journey was made with an Airbus A350-900, which took off from Tahiti on May 14th for Paris-Orly Airport. At this time, it remains unclear how substantial the aircraft’s payload was during this record-setting flight.

A350 French Bee
French Bee set a new world record. Photo: French Bee

“The flight was carried out under standard performance conditions of the Airbus A350, with an average altitude of 12,500 meters, at a speed of 940 km/h. The A350’s fuel consumption qualities, 25% less than a conventional long-haul aircraft, enabled it to cross these 16,129 kilometers.” – Ludovic André, Director of Air Operations and Chief Pilot of French Bee

Flight details

According to a press release put out by French Bee, the record-setting flight covered a distance of 16,129 kilometers flying between the airports of Tahiti-Faa’a and Paris-Orly. This flight represents “the longest non-stop domestic commercial flight,” with a total time of 16 hours and 49 minutes.

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Flying the journey was an Airbus A350-900, registration F-HREY. It took off from Tahiti-Faaa International Airport at 10:51 on Thursday, May 14th, and landed at Paris-Orly at 15:40 local time on Friday, May 15th.

Record du monde battu ! French bee est fière d’annoncer qu’elle a effectué avec l’un de ses Airbus #A350900 le plus long…

Publisert av French bee Fredag 15. mai 2020

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The A350 had flown from Paris-Orly to Tahiti on Tuesday, May 12th, as a cargo-only flight, carrying 20 tonnes of medication bound for French Polynesia. On this particular journey, the aircraft had a stopover in Pointe-à-Pitre (Guadeloupe).

“We are pleased and proud to have been able to complete this record flight under these exceptional circumstances. We would also like to highlight the commitment of our pilots, all volunteers for these flights, and also all of our partners in Orly and Papeete. This record confirms the Dubreuil Group’s choice of a unique fleet of Airbus A350s. It is the most advanced aircraft in the world in terms of energy efficiency.” -Muriel Assouline, Managing Director, French Bee.

french bee journey
As French Polynesia is a French territory, the long journey technically counts as a domestic flight. Photo: GCMap.com

About French Bee

French Bee is a low-cost airline made up of only three aircraft – all Airbus A350-900s. The carrier operates the following routes:

French Bee’s A350s are different from the majority of Airbus A350s operated by airlines around the world. However, this is not necessarily a good thing for passengers. This is because its economy class cabin is one of the few that are configured for 10-abreast seating. This means narrower seats for passengers.

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With two travel classes offering a combined 411 seats, you’ll find 376 seats in economy class and 35 seats in the airline’s premium class cabin.

French Bee
French Bee is only one of a small handful of airlines configuring its economy class for 10-abreast seating. Photo: French Bee

Conclusion

It should be noted that this flight wouldn’t normally operate a direct, non-stop service between the two airports. Under normal circumstances, this journey would include a stopover in San Francisco to pick up and/or drop-off passengers and refuel.

We suspect that this flight was only made possible by traveling with a reduced payload and few or no passengers onboard. Details around who or what it was carrying on the flight back to Paris were not mentioned in the press release.

Simple Flying has contacted French Bee to inquire about the aircraft’s payload during this record-setting journey.

Could you spend nearly 17 hours in an aircraft? Would you change your answer if your seat was in French Bee’s 10-abreast economy cabin? Let us know in the comments!

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