According to Airbus SE its A330-800 wide-body jet completed its first flight this week, keeping the new aircraft on track for certification next year. The developmental version of the A330neo series landed at Toulouse, France, after a four-hour test flight. This flight-test aircraft will be put through a 300-hour campaign of flight-physics tests.
The launch customer for the A330-800 will be Kuwait Airways, which has a purchase agreement for eight of the wide-body jet.
The A330-800 is one of two models of the A330neo, or “new engine option”, powered by Rolls-Royce Trent 7000 engines. Airbus calls the A330-800 "the most efficient, longest-range entry-level wide-body aircraft."
Airbus instituted the A330neo platform in order to increase the aircraft’s fuel economy (+14% per seat). Last October, the A330-900 had its first flight, and it was awarded the European Air Safety Administration certification in September of this year. It’s scheduled for a commercial debut with TAP Air Portugal later this year.
The A330 series has drawn over 1,700 orders since 1992, and over 1,400 A330s are in service worldwide.
“The A330-800 is an exceptionally versatile ‘route-opener’, offering unbeatable economics for airlines, encompassing everything from short to very-long haul wide-body missions,” stated Guillaume Faury, president of Airbus Commercial Aircraft.