World's First Airbus A330 Retired

The first Airbus A330 to enter commercial service has been retired by Cathay Dragon after 24 years of operation.

The aircraft, B-HLJ (c/n 012) was first delivered to Cathay Pacific on October 18, 1996 and served with the Hong Kong carrier until it was transferred to the operator’s international regional subsidiary, Dragonair (now Cathay Dragon) in 2013.

Dragonair A330
B-HLJ joined Dragonair's (now Cathay Dragon) fleet in March 2013. Aviation Image Network/Bailey

The aircraft flew its final commercial service with the carrier on July 6, with a rotation between Shanghai and Hong Kong.

Briefly the world’s largest twinjet, the A330 was dethroned upon the introduction of the Boeing 777 in 1995.

Flying for the last time on July 17, the widebody concluded its period of operation accruing 63,900 hours and 26,983 cycles during its service with the carrier.

Cathay Pacific
Credit: Cathay Pacific

The Rolls-Royce Trent 700-powered type is currently stored at Taipei/Taoyuan airport.

Cathay Dragon operates an all-Airbus fleet of 47 aircraft, comprising 14 A320, eight A321 and 25 A330 examples.