The first of three A330neo Family aircraft to fly, F-WTTN (c/n 1795), completed its maiden flight on October 19. The successful flight, which lasted 4hrs 13mins, will deliver a much-needed boost for a programme that has slipped several months owing in part to delays in engine development. Entry into service with launch customer TAP Portugal had originally been slated for later this year.
Fabrice Brégier, Airbus COO and President of Airbus Commercial Aircraft commented: “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.”
Elsewhere, the European aerospace giant confirmed construction is now under way on the smaller variant of the A330neo, the A330-800. Initial work has included new increased-span wings, built at Broughton, North Wales, that are now being equipped in Bremen, Germany, and new composite Sharklets manufactured by Korean Air Aerospace Division.
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.