The range optimised version of the Airbus A330neo family – the A330-800 completed its first flight earlier this week.
In total, Airbus is looking to commence at 350 flight-hour test programme for the A330-800 after the first flight – lasting four hours and four minutes was completed from Toulouse-Blagnac Airport.
The A330-800 is the smaller variant of the A330-900, which shares a high degree of commonality – with Airbus touting 99% commonality.
They also share the same type rating as other Airbus A330 family (and interestingly, share the same rating with the Airbus A350 family). For airlines – that matters as it means a common pool of pilots can transition between the fleets if an airline chooses to scale in the Airbus wide-body family.
In terms of passenger experiences, Airbus are quoting a load of 257 passengers in a three-class configuration – although Runway Girl Network reports that this aircraft could be a target for densification, with a nine across economy cabin possible.
The cabin itself will be the Airspace by Airbus product, which has been making partial débuts in the A350 fleets – and will make a full reveal in the A330-900 with TAP Portugal.
The first customer of the type will be Kuwait Airways who recently signed an order for eight aircraft. These are due to commence delivery in the first half of 2020.
There have been some false starts in the order book – with Hawaiian Air initially signing for the type (before dropping it for the Boeing 787-9).
Whilst the type hasn’t had the attention of the larger payload A330-900, it does beat it in terms of ranger – with up to 8,150 nautical miles. According to Airbus, this will allow non-stop flights between Southeast Asia and Europe, as well as transpacific travel between Southeast Asia and the U.S. West Coast.
There are some interesting spaces where the A330-800 could work for an airline. It seems Airbus has to press the sales team to make that point, as well as pointing out the possible savings the type could make if used in a certain manner.
Or with certain cabin designs.
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