Portuguese TAP sets flight record with Airbus A321LR

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Airbus A321LR – Imagem: Kevin Hackert / CC BY-NC 2.0, via Flickr

The airline TAP Air Portugal registered a new flight record with the narrow body aircraft (narrowbody) A321LR manufactured by Airbus.

According to Arik De, Mesh and Revenue Manager at the company, a 10-hour, 7-minute flight was made from Mavalane International Airport, in Maputo, in Mozambique, to Nelson Mandela International Airport, in Praia, in Cape Verde, recording the longest journey ever made by an airline with the Airbus A321neo long-range (LR) variant.

According to ADS-B tracking data, this occurred last Monday, March 29, when the A321LR registered under registration CS-TXA left Maputo at 08:59 UTC (10:00:59 local time) on flight number TP9302, and landed in Praia at 19h06 UTC (18h06 local). The distance is about 7,500 km.

The A321LR during the flight of more than 10 hours – Image: FlightRadar24

Despite the record, however, it is important to note that it was not a standard passenger transport flight. According to information from TAP, this was a positioning flight, therefore, the aircraft flew much lighter than in a standard operation, allowing for lower fuel consumption and the consequent greater range.

The previous record had been registered in January this year, by the Portuguese company Azores Airlines, on a flight between Lisbon and Bogotá, in Colombia, in which about 7,250 km were covered.

Altogether, there were 9 hours and 49 minutes of flight, performed on the Airbus A321LR with registration number CS-TSI. The flight was also not regular, but chartered, but without further information on who would have rented the jet and what the purpose of the long flight was.

Differentiated strategy

The TAP Manager also points out that the Portuguese company currently has more A321LR jets than any other company, which allows it to create a strategy to connect four continents with its hub in Lisbon using narrow body planes.

Currently, in the midst of the pandemic, the aircraft have been used mainly for direct transatlantic flights from Lisbon to New York, Boston and Washington, but have already flown to other countries, such as Canada and Brazil, for example. TAP has 17 A321neo in the fleet, 11 of which are the LR variant. The most recent of these, the CS-TXG, was received last March 26th.

The A321LR is a modified version of the A321neo, the best-seller from Airbus that is taking over the space of the Boeing 757. Its new engines provide savings of 30% when compared to previous generation airplanes, and, in addition, in the LR version, extra tanks are installed to increase the range.

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