Airbus successfully carried out the first flight of its A330-800 wide-body in Toulouse, France with the dedicated test aircraft to perform flight-physics tests required for this variant.
The manufacturer says the development is on track for certification next year, with the programme to clock up around 300 test hours. The larger A330-900 sibling recently completed its development testing and certification programme, which validated the A330neo Family’s common engines, systems, cabin and flight and ground operations.
The A330-800 and -900 will carry 257 and 287 passengers respectively in a three-class seating layout, powered by Rolls-Royce Trent 7000 engines. They both feature new larger wing spans with Sharklet wingtip devices, nacelles, titanium pylons and the ‘Airspace by Airbus’ cabin interior.
The maiden flight of the first A330-800, MSN1888, lasted four hours and four minutes.
Guillaume Faury, president at Airbus Commercial Aircraft, described the latest variant as “an exceptionally versatile ‘route-opener’, offering unbeatable economics for airlines – encompassing everything from short to very-long haul widebody missions.”
At the end of September Airbus had 13 customers with orders for a total of 224 A330neos.
Based on the A330-200, of which more than 650 have been sold, the new version has a greater range of up to 8,150nm, similar to the A350. This covers 98% of all widebody routes flown today, says the OEM.