Another A330neo variant flies

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Airbus’ A330-800neo test aircraft F-WTTO (msn 1888) lifts from Toulouse on its November 6, 2018, maiden light.
H Goussé/Airbus

The Airbus A330-800neo, the second member of the A330neo product line, completed its maiden light from Toulouse on November 6. The aircraft, F-WTTO (msn 1888) will now undergo 300 hours of test flying to obtain the variant’s type certificate. Regulatory approval and delivery to the first customer, Kuwait Airways, is scheduled for 2019.

As with its A330-900neo stablemate, the A330-800neo is powered by Rolls-Royce Trent 7000 engines and features Sharklet composite wingtip devices, a composite engine nacelle and pylon, new light deck features and the Airspace cabin. Airbus says it will burn 25% less fuel than previous generation aircraft.

The A330-800neo is, like the A330-900neo, designed for the 250–300 seats segment of the commercial aircraft market, competing with the Boeing 787- 9. Specifically, the A330-800neo is optimised for 257 passengers three-class, 8,150 nautical miles (15,094km) range and a maximum take-of weight of 251,000kg (553,400lb). It will fly further than the A330-900neo, which has 7,200 nautical miles (13,334km) range, but its 257-seat capacity is slightly less than the 287-seat capacity of its sister aircraft.

Airliner variants optimised for range historically sell in slightly lower numbers, but even so there have been few A330-800neo sales so far. Kuwait Airways has ordered eight and in July 2018 Uganda Airways signed a memorandum of understanding for two, but these are the only orders Airbus has received for the variant and earlier this year Hawaiian Airlines cancelled an order for six examples. The sister A330-900neo has fared better, with 224 sold by the time of the A330-800neo’s first light. Mark Broadbent