Rolls-Royce plc has shipped the two Trent 7000 engines that will power the first flight of the Airbus A330neo — the wide-body aircraft being positioned as a competitor to the Boeing 787 Dreamliner. The commercial debut of the A330neo has been delayed, reportedly owing to delays in the engines’ availability, but earlier this month Airbus Commercial Aircraft program head Didier Evrard reported the OEM has two prototype aircraft assembled, and expects the Trent 7000 engines to be available this month.
Airbus announced the A330neo program nearly three years ago, aiming to offer a more fuel-efficient alternative to its other wide-body offerings. The A330neo (the suffix designates a “new engine option”) would be powered exclusively by the Rolls-Royce Trent 7000, and achieve a 14% improvement in fuel-burn.
Other improvements to the A330 design include wider winglets and new engine pylons to enhance the jets’ aerodynamics.
There will be two design options, the A330neo 800, based on the A330-200, with a range of 500 nm (13,900 km) and room for 257 passengers; and the A330neo 900, based on the A330-300, with a range of 6,550 nm (12,130 km) and room for 287 passengers.
TAP Portugal, which ordered 14 A330neo 900 aircraft in 2015, will be the launch customer in mid 2018.
The Trent 7000 is the seventh iteration of Rolls’ Trent series of high-bypass turbofan jet engines, other versions of which are in use for the Airbus A350 and A350XWB, and Boeing 777 and 787.
According to Rolls-Royce, the Trent 7000’s 68-72,000lb thrust “delivers a step change in performance and economics,” compared to the Trent 700 engine that powers the A330. It said the new design would improve specific fuel consumption by 10%, with twice the bypass ratio and significantly reduced noise.
Rolls explained that the new Trent 7000 engines were shipped from its Derby, England, manufacturing center on June 16. After the nacelles are fitted and powerplant integration is completed at Safran in Toulouse, France, the engines will be installed on the aircraft.
“We are pleased to have reached this important milestone and look forward to flight testing getting underway later this year,” Eric Schulz, Rolls-Royce, Civil Aerospace president stated.
Rolls-Royce also provides the most popular engine choice for the original A330, the Trent 700.