Airbus A330-800 performs maiden flight
MSN 1888, the first Airbus A330-800neo, has performed its maiden flight, taking the A330neo family as a whole, one step closer to being complete.
The aircraft took off from Toulouse Blagnac, France at 10:31am local time. The following crew members are onboard the flight:
- Experimental Test Pilot Malcom Ridley
- Experimental Test Pilot Francois Barre
- Test-Flight Engineer Ludovic Girard
- Flight-Test-Engineer Catherine Schneider
- Flight-Test-Engineer Jose Corugedo Bermejo
Since the A330-900 has been certified and has completed the bulk of the testing, the A330-800 will only perform a roughly 300h long campaign, focusing on flight physics. Ground handling, maintenance, aircraft systems and flight operations are the same as on the larger A330-900.
Two Rolls-Royce Trent 7000 engines power the A330neo family, and despite the production delays recently announced by Rolls-Royce, have been performing on spec, and in some cases, better than Airbus expected.
Although there are no firm orders for the A330-800, Airbus isn’t worried. The replacement cycle for A330s of the current engine option is not yet here, however is approaching at a steady speed. When airlines begin to look for replacements, Airbus is confident the A330neo will act as a good aircraft and stand strong against its closest competitor, the Boeing 787.
The first A330-900 is expected to be handed over to launch customer TAP Air Portugal in the very near future. Airbus aimed to have 15 A330-900s delivered by the end of the year but engine delays might cause an issue for this figure.
Airbus released this inforgraphic to outline the key features of the A330-800:
During the world tour of the A330-900, the aircraft was praised for its excellent interior acoustics, which is all part of the passenger experience improvement scheme that comes with the Airspace cabin. This will be the same on the A330-800 which shares a common cabin with the A330-900.
An “In the Making” video was released by Airbus prior to the flight, which you can watch here:
Here are some additional photos from Airbus of the first flight:
Once the aircraft nears the end of its campaign and airlines begin to look for replacements, the A330-800 will gain some orders. The A330neo will build from the original A330 and its success in the widebody market.