As Airbus prepares for the imminent first flight of its A330-900, the manufacturer has now also started production of the second member of the A330neo Family, the A330-800, at its sites across Europe.
The initial work has included a new increased-span wings, built at Broughton, North Wales, that are now being equipped in Bremen, German and new composite Sharklets that have been manufactured by Korean Air Aerospace Division. While fuselage sections are under construction in Hamburg and the centre wing box is being assembled in Nantes, France. Airbus says the production of -800 components will continue to increase leading to the start of final assembly by the end of the year. The aircraft’s maiden flight will take place during 2018.
The A330neo builds on the success of the A330 widebody programme, with over 1,300 aircraft currently in service with 117 customers worldwide. Airbus says the A330-800 will bring improved economics with a predicted 14% less fuel burn per seat compared to the current generation aircraft, greater passenger comfort with the all new Airspace cabin as well as unprecedented range in the 250-seat aircraft market. Together with the larger 300-seat -900, both aircraft share a 99% commonality, which the manufacturer says gives operators a greater flexibility to use both variants on their networks.