The A330 is the most operated twin aisle aircraft in the world. The replacement for the A330, the A330neo was announced back in July of 2014 at the Farnborough Airshow. The aircraft promised at least 14% better fuel economy per seat with its new Rolls-Royce Trent 7000. In actuality, the new airplane claims 25% more fuel-efficient than previous generations due to the new engine and lighter composite materials. The NEO stands for New Engine Option. The A330neo comes in two variants, the -800 which can travel an estimated 7500 nautical miles with 257 passengers, and the -900 which can travel an estimated 6550 nautical miles with 287 passengers.
While sales for the A330-800 have been slower than expected, with only one unconfirmed operator. The A330-900 has sold well with over 200+ orders on the books. The following airlines have orders for the -900 variant:
|Airline||Number of Frames Ordered|
|Air Lease Corporation||29|
|Iran Air* (Unconfirmed, Probably not to be delivered)||28|
|Delta Air Lines||25|
|TAP Air Portugal||21|
|Arkia Israeli Airlines||2|
Passenger improvements on board the A330neo include elements of the Airspace by Airbus cabin which include larger lavatories, 40% larger overhead bins and LED lights that are allegedly able to produce 16.7 million combinations. Airbus also claims that the Rolls Royce 7000 engine is the quietest aircraft in its category meeting new strict ICAO chapter 14 noise standard certifications.
Today TAP Air Portugal takes delivery of its first A330neo, Portuguese registration CS-TUB. TAP Air Portugal is the launch operator for the A330neo, they have 21 of the -900 planes on order. The plane is configured with 298 seats in the following set up:
|Cabin||Executive Business Class||Economy Extra||Economy|
|# of Seats||34||96||168|
Executive Business Class
Executive business class is set up with 8 rows in a 1-2-1 layout with direct aisle access for each passenger. The 34 seats measure 22″ wide with pitch ranging from 42-44″. The seats are the same that you will find aboard the El Al 787 and have a similar feel to the real United Polaris seat with seats staggered closer to the window and aisle in alternating rows. The center seats are great for couples traveling together.
Economy class is set up in a 2-4-2 layout, as most other A330’s are. All economy seats are 18″ wide. TAP Air Portugal does not offer a formal premium economy product, but on this plane there are 168 regular coach seats with 31 inches of pitch and 96 extra legroom seats with 34 inches. Extra room seats come with a grey and red head rest vs the yellow/green ones for regular economy seats. A representative for the airline said that extra leg room seats should be more affordable when they do go on sale . All seats on the plane are produced by Recaro.
How To Fly
The plane will begin with flights between Lisbon and Sao Paulo in the coming weeks. Representatives from the airline said they anticipate the plane to be certified and flying before Christmas. Exact flights are unknown at this point. TAP Air Portugal has between 2-3 daily flights from Lisbon to Sao Paulo
The A330neo is expected to phase out the A340 planes from the TAP fleet. TAP Air Portugal will receive 2-3 frames by the end of this year, and 15 by May 2019. A representative Andres, from TAP Air Portugal said that by 2025 TAP Air Portugal will have one of the youngest fleets in the sky.