LONDON — Airbus has announced that the first launch operator A330-900neo aircraft, destined for TAP Portugal, has completed it’s first maiden flight, taking around 4 hours and 32 minutes in total. The first test consisted of cabin checks of the manufacturer’s Airspace cabin, something that is now being pushed consistently by Airbus.
— Airbus (@Airbus) May 15, 2018
MSN1819 is the first aircraft to be fitted with the new Airspace cabin and is equipped with Flight Test Instrumentation during its test phase to be able to sufficiently check that all systems onboard the aircraft are working correctly.
Additionally, the MSN1819 joins the two other Airbus A330-900neo testbeds that have been undergoing such tests since October 2017. MSN1819 is due to be delivered in the Summer of this year on a delivery flight from Toulouse to Lisbon.
The Airspace cabin will eventually be retrofitted onto future Airbus A350XWB deliveries, as well as to current Airbus A350XWB aircraft that are already in service.
This Airbus A330neo aircraft, when delivered to TAP, will make the manufacturer one step closer to achieving full commonality along their entire portfolio of aircraft that they manufacture. From the A319neo up to the A380 program, there will be the full functioning commonality element, which will reduce costs of pilot training, offering an attractive bonus to the airlines when they are buying such aircraft.
All-in-all, when the aircraft is delivered, many carriers will be watching how TAP get on with the aircraft, especially as we approach the Farnborough Air Show later this year, where prospective customers could make some orders of the type.
The Airbus A330 program itself has had over 1,700 units sold to many different customers, which does show that there is some level of demand left for this level of aircraft, especially with the market saturation that is taking place between the 100-600 seat market.
Also, the aircraft completes 1,000,000 flights every year across the many airlines that operate them as well.
Overall, this marks the near completion of their updated variants of aircraft and will be able to roll them all out as one collective program in the future airshows to come as well as to prospective carriers that will be watching Airbus for many years and months to come.