Airbus' new A330neo Completes its First Flight
Airbus' latest jet, the A330-900neo, ascended for the first time on Thursday in the south of France.
The airplane took off from Toulouse-Blagnac International Airport at 9:57 a.m. local time, flying for several hours over southern France before completing its first landing.
The airplane is a next-generation version of Airbus' popular-but-aging A330 line that started in 1992, intending to be a replacement of the original A330-300 that first began flying 25 years ago. The introduced neo version can fly further more efficiently, thanks in large part to newer, larger engines and other aerodynamic improvements. It can also seat more passengers.
Passengers may notice any of several changes, says Airbus. Larger overhead bins will improve space by 66%, according to the company. Other improvements include LED lighting, upgraded in-flight entertainment, better lavatory options and the retention of the airplane's 2-4-2 economy layout.
The first flight comes a bit later than Airbus originally had planned. Delays, chiefly with the airplane's Rolls Royce-made Trent 7000 engines, mounted over the past year. It was originally slated to enter service at the end of the year with TAP Portugal, a target that has now slipped into 2018.
Two more -900 jets will join the original in its flight test operations as the plane moves toward certification. APC is looking forward to seeing the new A330neo in action!