Airbus A330neo completes first test flight

The maiden flight of Airbus's A330-900 takes off at Toulouse. (Airbus)
The maiden flight of Airbus’s A330-900 takes off at Toulouse. (Airbus)

Airbus says it is aiming to achieve certification of its re-engined A330neo widebody by the middle of 2018 after the A330-900 successfully completed its first test flight.

The first of three test aircraft, MSN1795, an A330-900 with registration F-WTTN, took off from Airbus headquarters at Toulouse on Thursday morning (local time), landing some four hours and 13 minutes later.

Airbus Commercial Aircraft president Fabrice Brégier said in a statement: “Today’s first flight of the A330neo marks yet another milestone along the Airbus journey of continuous innovation.”

“We look forward to a successful flight test campaign and entry into service of the A330neo in 2018.”

Airbus said the flight test fleet would comprise two A330-900 and one A330-800 aircraft.

The company said the campaign to achieve certification from the European Aviation Safety Agency and US Federal Aviation Administration by the middle of 2018 would comprise 1,100 flight hours for the A330-900, which is being certified first, and 300 flight hours for the A330-800.

The flight test crew of Airbus A330-900 first test fligh: flight test engineer Alain Pourchet, flight test engineer Jean-Philippe Cottet, flight test engineer Gert Wunderlich, experimental test pilot Thomas Wilhelm, flight test engineer Emiliano Requena Esteban and experimental test pilot Thierry Bourges. (Airbus)
The flight test crew of Airbus A330-900 first test fligh: flight test engineer Alain Pourchet, flight test engineer Jean-Philippe Cottet, flight test engineer Gert Wunderlich, experimental test pilot Thomas Wilhelm, flight test engineer Emiliano Requena Esteban and experimental test pilot Thierry Bourges. (Airbus)

Launched at the Farnborough Airshow in 2014, the A330neo features new Rolls-Royce Trent 7000 engines and a larger wing with ‘Sharklet’ wingtips to reduce fuel consumption.

The type is also the launch aircraft for Airbus’s “AirSpace by Airbus” cabin concept which features larger overhead compartments, wider seats and aisles and new lighting, a “welcome area” and removal of the inflight entertainment box taking up legroom under the seat in front.

There are two A330neo variants – the A330-800 is the replacement for the A330-200 currently flown by Fiji Airways, Qantas and Virgin in this part of the world, while the A330-900 is the replacement for the larger A330-300.

Qantas and Fiji Airways also operate the larger A330-300.

There is 95 per cent commonality between the A330neo and current A330 variants.

The A330-200 has a typical range of 7,250nm when configured with 247 passengers, according to the Airbus website, while the A330-800 will have a range of 7,500nm with 257 passengers in a three-class layout.

Meanwhile, the A330-300’s typical range is 6,350nm with a 277-passenger configuration, compared with 6,550nm for the A330-900 configured with 287 seats in three classes.

TAP Portugal is the launch customer of the A330neo, with 14 A330-900s on order. The sole customer in Oceania is Aircalin, which ordered two A330-900s in November 2016.

Airbus said it has received 212 A330neo orders from 12 customers.

However there are fresh doubts as to the viability of the A330-800 variant, with Hawaiian Airlines reviewing its order six of the type, CNN reported in early October. Hawaiian is the only customer for the smaller A330neo.

Airbus A330-900 MSN1795 landing after its maiden flight. (Airbus)
Airbus A330-900 MSN1795 landing after its maiden flight. (Airbus)

Comments

  1. says

    I cant wait for these to get into service! Airbus make a better aircraft to adapt to than Boeing IMHO; given that even in the B787 it still has the clunky layout and many switches instead of buttons is relics from the past!

    Go Airbus!

  2. Lechuga says

    What is the point of this honestly? The A350 exists. Why cannibalise it, it’s like making a hypothetical 767x when the 787 exists.

  3. Roger says

    Why is the -800 not more popular? Is it due to the A350 variants being ordered first? One thing the article didn’t mention was that AirAsiaX is also reconsidering changing their A330neo order for A350XWB aircraft.

  4. Peter says

    I think Airbus should have just done a MOM clean sheet aircraft design to compete with the proposed Boeing 797 aircraft.

    Then again, clean sheet designs don’t exactly come cheap.

  5. Mike says

    “Wider seats and aisles”. Really? Are we talking about economy class here? Assuming the basic A330 fuselage width isn’t changing, any additional seat or aisle width that could be provided would be barely noticeable. More to the point I’d like to know from where this extra width is to be found?
    Will the wall insulation and sound dampening be thinned to the bare minimum? Will armrests between seats be made even narrower?
    Sorry to be openly cynical however the bombardment of “spin” in advertising these days makes a product sound great but leads to disappointment when it just doesn’t live up to the promise.
    Oh and yes I did click on the “AirSpace by Airbus” link in your article and just quietly smiled to myself and wondered who came up with that $#1+!
    Okay time to make a nice cup of tea and I’ll soon feel better!