An Airbus A330-800 test aircraft completed its maiden flight Nov. 6 from Toulouse-Blagnac Airport over southwestern France, which lasted 4 hrs. and 4 min.

The aircraft, MSN 1888, is an A330neo powered by Rolls-Royce Trent 7000 engines.

According to Airbus, the A330-800’s development program will include around 300 flight-test hours, paving the way for certification in 2019. Its sibling, the larger A330-900 family member, recently completed its development testing and certification program.

The A330neo comprises two versions: the A330-800 and A330-900. Both widebody aircraft incorporate new Rolls-Royce Trent 7000 engines, nacelle, titanium pylon, new wings and offer Airspace by Airbus passenger experience. The larger A330-900 will accommodate up to 287 seats in a typical three-class layout, while the A330-800 typically will seat 257 passengers in three classes.

Kuwait Airways, which placed a firm order for eight of the type, will be the first carrier to operate the latest A330 variant.

Airbus head of A330 marketing Crawford Hamilton said the A330-800 is 58.82 m (193 ft.) long and is 5 m shorter than the A330-900, which made its first flight Oct. 19, 2017. The -800 offers a range of 7,500 nm compared to 6.550 nm for the A330-900.

Airbus said it has 224 A330neo firm orders from 14 customers.

TAP Air Portugal will take delivery of the first A330-900 soon. Brazil’s Azul will be the next airline to take five of the type, which Dublin-based lessor Avolon will supply, by year-end.

According to Airbus, there are 23 A330neos in production.

Airbus head of development-flight testing Jean-Philippe Cottet said the A330neo program has completed most certifications. Three A330-900 test aircraft have operated 1,400 flight hrs. with a total of 440 flights.

EASA certification was achieved Sept. 26. “This was a very short test campaign for a new aircraft. FAA certification should be done by the end of this year,” Airbus A330neo chief engineer Francois Kubica said.

Another A330neo version with a 251-ton maximum takeoff weight) should enter service in mid-2020; it will deliver an extra range of 650 nm.

Kurt Hofmann hofmann.aviation@netway.at