The first Airbus A330-900neo took off last week from Airbus headquarters in Toulouse for its maiden flight, over southwest France. It is the first to fly of three flight-test certification aircraft, powered by new-technology Rolls-Royce Trent 7000 turbofans. The certification development programme will last around 1,400 flight-test hours. Of that, 1,100hr are for the A330-900 so it can achieve its respective EASA and FAA Type Certification around the middle of 2018.
The A330-800 programme has 300hr allocated, with certification scheduled in 2019. Overall, the full A330neo Family flight-test campaign will be performed by three certification flight-test aircraft, plus the first production aircraft. The neo's two versions, A330-800 and A330-900, will accommodate 257 and 287 passengers respectively in a three-class seating layout, up to ten more seats than earlier models, and offer new "Airspace" cabins and a larger wingspan with Sharklet wingtip devices.
Shipments of the A330-900 to launch customer TAP Portugal are expected around mid-2018. Final assembly of the A330-800, for which Hawaiian Airlines is lead customer with six on order, starts in Toulouse shortly. Airbus so far has 212 A330neo orders.