MIAMI— The production of the first Airbus A330neo is under way with the first metal cut of the first parts intended for the test Aircraft, produced in the premises of the company in Toulouse and Nantes.
The manufacture of the first engine pylon began this summer at the factory of Saint-Eloi, near Toulouse, while the AIrbus plant in Nantes started the production of the first central wing box. According to the manufacturer, the first Centre Wing Box rib produced in Nantes uses an innovative Isogrid design, with triangular pockets, a design feature devised to meet with the rigidity, strength and low weight requirements.
Although conceived for different missions and purposes, the A330neo program benefits from the aerodynamics, materials and design technologies derived from the A350 XWB. The manufacturer assures that the new pylon will be fitted with a fairing made from composite materials and titanium inspired by the new A350 XWB.
The Airbus A330neo is an upgrade to the current A330-200/-300 aircraft (A330ceo) in production, which traces its origins to the A300 introduced four decades ago. Given the popularity of the A330ceo with over 1,500 aircraft delivered, Airbus opted to launch an updated version, which includes a new (and sole) engine option (the Rolls Royce Trent 7000), a longer wingspan and new engine pylons and winglets in which the use of composites play a key role to meet the expectations of the manufacturer in extending the range of this airliner in more than 400 nautical miles, and fuel savings in 14% per seat compared to the A330ceo.
The manufacturer remains on schedule ahead of the initial deliveries of the A330neo in late 2017. Delta Air Lines placed an order for 25 A330-900neos, while Hawaiian Airlines opted to swap its A350-800 order for six A330-800neos. So far, Airbus has received orders for 145 aircraft. Of these, only 10 aircraft correspond to the -800neo variant.