MIAMI – As Airbus delivered its final A330-300 yesterday, the carrier now looks into the future with its new a330neo weight variant as it takes to the skies on its first flight.

According to Flightradar24, the new aircraft’s maiden flight took off from Toulouse and spent approximately 5 hours in the air before landing back. 

The new weight variant of the A330neo will increase the maximum takeoff weight to 251 tons. The extra 6 tons of payload will increase the aircraft’s maximum range by 650 nautical miles. 

The new modifications were completed using weight-neutral reinforcements and landing gear adaptations. 

In a three-class configuration, the A330-900 accommodates 260-300 passengers, while the shorter A330-800 accommodates 220-260 passengers. 

According to Airbus, the new a330neo variant’s increased range “responds to evolving market needs, enabling airlines to benefit from the unique economics of the A330neo on even longer routes.”

The A330neo’s future

Airbus expects the A330-900 new weight variant to be certified by authorities mid-2020, while the A330-800 new weight variant is expected to be certified in 2021. 

Airbus expects the aircraft to be used heavily in the trans-pacific or Asia-Europe markets in the coming years. 

Some possible markets for the new variant of the A330neo are in Southeast Asia and in the Middle East. 

The current variant of the a330neo is operated by Air Mauritius, Air Senegal, Air Asia X, Aircalin, Azul Linhas Aéreas Brasileiras, Citilink, Delta Airlines, Evelop Airlines, Garuda Indonesia, HiFly, Lion Air, Rwandair, TAP Air Portugal, Thai AirAsia X, and Thai Lion Air.