Australia Finally Gets First Airbus A330MRTT Tankers
Airbus Military has delivered two of five A330MRTTs ordered by launch customer the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF). After a delay of more than two years, the first aircraft was flown from Madrid to RAAF Amberley and handed over in a formal ceremony on June 1. The second was handed over on June 22. These were the second and third tankers to be built for Australia, both converted by Qantas Defence Services (QDS) in Brisbane before being returned to Europe for painting and finishing. The first aircraft was converted by Airbus Military at Madrid and was used for development and certification. It is now being refurbished before delivery by year-end. The fourth and fifth aircraft are being converted by QDS, to be delivered later this year and in 2012, respectively. Airbus Military CEO Domingo Urena described the handover as a long-awaited milestone, and thanked the RAAF for having placed its faith in the product.