The second member of the A330neo family has emerged from the paintshop for the first time at Airbus’s Toulouse headquarters, paving the way for test flights to begin by the middle of 2018.
Airbus released pictures of the first A330-800neo, MSN1888, on Monday (European time), which show the aircraft painted in Airbus livery and the new “Sharklet” wingtips similar to what is on the A350.
Launched at the Farnborough Airshow in 2014, the A330neo is powered by new Rolls-Royce Trent 7000 engines and also features zero-splice nacelles, titanium pylons and new winglets.
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 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. The A330-800 will have a range of 7,500nm with a maximum takeoff weight (MTOW) of 242 tonnes.
Airbus is also offering the A330-800 with a 251-tonne MTOW, which increases the range to 8,150nm.
While Hawaiian Airlines is the only customer for the A330-800 with orders for six of the type, CNN reported in late 2017 the carrier was weighing up whether it was still the right aircraft for its needs.
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.