A330neo First Flight
A reheated version of Airbus’s 25-year-old A330, the A330neo flew for the first time Thursday in the European company’s attempt to shore up its presence in the 250- to 300-seat long-range market. After some initial teething problems, Boeing’s 787 Dreamliner is proving a dominant force in that sector. The newish A330 boasts improved aerodynamics and has been re-engined with the Rolls Royce Trent 7000, which is derived from the 1000 series used by the Dreamliner and A350 XWB. Even though it’s bigger and more powerful it will cut fuel consumption by about 11 percent.
The new model was announced in 2014 and certification is expected in 2018. The aircraft has attracted about 200 orders and the launch customer is Portugal’s TAP. The original A330 first flew in 1992 and went into service in 1994. The original design is still in production and by the time the new model replaces it about 1,500 will have been built.