First Flight of Airbus A330neo Expected in the Next Few Months
Airbus has now scheduled the delayed first flight of the A330-900neo for the end of the summer as the company awaits delivery of the first example’s Rolls-Royce Trent 7000 engines. During the company's June 9 media day in Toulouse, Airbus Commercial Aircraft head of programs Didier Evrard noted the company has fully assembled two prototype engines with the expected delivery by the end of June.
“Rolls Royce is a bit late, but their bench test results are good,” said Airbus Commercial Aircraft president Fabrice Bregier. Evrard told Bloomberg earlier in the month that the problem with the Trent 7000 involved its air system for wing de-icing, and that Rolls-Royce had suffered from a lack of testing capability. Airbus now plans to make the first A330neo delivery from Toulouse in mid-2018. The company expects first delivery of a current generation A330 from its delivery center in China this fall.
Although Airbus claims a distinct improvement in efficiency with a 3.7-meter wingspan addition resulting from incorporation of sharklets, most of the airplane's advertised fuel burn reduction comes from the Trent 7000s. Rolls-Royce cites “significant” performance benefits in the 68,000- to 72,000-pound-thrust Trent 7000 compared with the Trent 700, improving specific fuel consumption by 10 percent.
To meet A330neo requirements, Rolls-Royce has adapted the Trent 1000-10 to incorporate a new electronic engine control unit, new gearbox, air-start capability, and related changes. Before beginning series production, the manufacturer planned to assemble four development examples of the engines.