Jet builder Airbus SAS reports that construction is underway for the first A330neo wide-body aircraft at its Final Assembly Line in Toulouse, France.
The Airbus A330neo (“neo” signifies the new engine option) is a twin-engine commercial jet being developed to replace the Airbus A330 (referred to now as the A330ceo, for "current engine option), which is on track for its debut in the latter part of 2017.
The A330 family is described by Airbus as “the most popular mid-sized, wide-body aircraft ever, having won over 1,600 orders to date.” TAP Portugal is the launch customer for the A330neo, but Airbus has 186 total orders for the A330neo-800 and -900 variants, for 10 customers.
According to the OEM, the A330neo builds on the A330 series “economics, versatility and reliability”: it projects that carriers will achieve 14% lower fuel consumption per seat with the new aircraft. Both the -800 and -900 models adopt a curved wing design with “Sharklet wingtip devices” (similar to the A350 series wings) for improved aerodynamic performance.
The A330neo is powered by Rolls-Royce Trent 7000 engines.
The aerodynamic design and fuel performance improvements project to a 6,550-nautical miles range for the A330-900, and 7,500-nautical mile range for the A330-800.
“We have started with a very tight development schedule and are today right on time,” stated Odile Jubécourt, who heads the A330neo program. “I am happy to say we are in good shape to meet the high standards of maturity and reliability our customers expect from us and I want to thank the teams for this outstanding achievement.”