Airbus has started the final assembly phase of the latest member of its A330neo Family, the A330-800.
The prototype aircraft, (c/n 1888), is positioned in Station 40 where the fuselage barrels are joined, the wings are fixed to the fuselage and the tailplane is fitted. The company says the production cycle is on track for the jet’s first flight which is planned for mid-2018.
The A330-800 will complement its larger sibling, the A330-900, and will be available in two versions, the 242-tonne maximum take-off weight (MTOW) base variant, which can operate over routes of up to 7,500nm (13,890km) and the recently launched 251-tonne ultra-long-range jet that has a flight radius of 8,150nm (15,094km).
Building on the success of the current generation A330-200 (more than 600 examples in operation), the -800 shares a 99% commonality with the -900, having the same airframe, engines and cross crew commonality. Airbus says this gives operators greater flexibility to use either aircraft according to network needs in size and range. Both variants incorporate the new Rolls-Royce Trent 7000 engines, zero-splice nacelles (featuring a continuous surface, unlike conventional liners which are constructed from two or three pieces), titanium pylons, new wings and the new Airspace cabin.