Airbus S.E. delivered the first of its A330neo widebody aircraft to TAP Air Portugal, an A330-900 jet and the first of 20 to be supplied to the launch carrier in the coming year. The second variant, the A330-800 recently completed its first flight and will make its commercial debut with Kuwait Air in 2020.
The A330neo, or “new engine option”, is an updated and more fuel-efficient version of the OEM’s widebody series, announced in 2014. In addition to the "new-generation" Rolls-Royce Trent 7000 engines, the jets have a new higher span wing design with "Sharklet" tips for optimized aerodynamic performance.
The Trent 7000 is the seventh generation of Rolls-Royce’s Trent turbofan series, and the exclusive engine for the A330neo.
The new jet’s profile is said to bring a significant (25%) reduction in fuel consumption compared to the previous-generation of a competing widebody design. The design also includes composite nacelles, a fully faired titanium pylon, and zero-splice air-inlet technology that enhance the aircraft aerodynamics and acoustics.
According to Airbus Commercial Aircraft president Guillaume Faury: “Through continuous innovations, the A330neo, our newest widebody aircraft, will offer maximum value and efficiency to our customers and superior comfort to their passengers.”
TAP Air Portugal operates a fleet of 72 Airbus aircraft (narrow- and widebodies.) The A330-900 jets are leased from Avolon, and will be deployed on routes from Portugal to the Americas and Africa.