It’s all go at Airbus, who announced that the range optimised version of the A330neo – the A330-800neo gained type certification on the 13th February.
The type certification was a joint type certificate – awarded from the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) and the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).
The certification campaign was carried out with one aircraft – MSN1888 -, which completed the programme in 370 flight test hours and 132 flights since its first flight in November 2018.
As part of the A330neo family, it features Rolls Royce Trent 7000 engine, an optimised wing and new Sharklets using lighter composite materials. The airframer claims a 25% saving compared with older generation aircraft of a similar size (think Boeing 767-300ER).
The aircraft has been certified initially with a maximum take-off weight (MTOW) of 242 tonnes for a range capability of up to 7,500 nautical miles. A higher MTOW version is scheduled for certification in 2021 – allowing for a range of up to 8150 nautical miles.
In terms of passenger loads, the Airbus A330-800 will seat 220 to 260 passengers in a three-class configuration, or up to 406 travellers in a single-class high-density layout. As part of the A330neo family, it will receive the current “Airspace by Airbus” interior, giving large overhead storage, cabin mood lighting and options for In-Flight Entertainment and Connectivity in the air.
Meanwhile, in operational terms, the A330neo shares a common pilot type-rating with the larger A350 XWB, which facilitates minimum flight training cost and allow airlines to maximise pilot usage. For those on the ground, the SkyWise data connectivity features will be available, allowing assistance to predict potential issues before they arise in service.
A small customer list… so far…
The A330-800neo has had less than strong sales so far, with only Kuwait Airways (eight frames) Uganda Airways (two frames) and four frames from undefined customers – with Kuwait Airways being the launch customer.
The larger passenger optimised A330-900neo has run away with the rest of the sales, with 323 firm orders so far.
For Airbus, the A330-800neo will find a slot with the thin and long routes – exactly the ground where the A321 XLR will sit. The A321 XLR will have the advantage on the lighter loads, whilst the A330-800neo will fit where an A321 XLR is too small, yet an A350 is too large.
It’ll be interesting to see when the type flies commercially for the first time if other airlines continue to consider it for their fleets.
Welcome to Economy Class and Beyond – Your no-nonsense guide to network news, honest reviews, with in-depth coverage, unique research as well as the humour and madness as I only know how to deliver.