The A330neo, Airbus’ newest widebody aircraft, has embarked on a worldwide tour to demonstrate its readiness for airline operations. As final step in the aircraft certification phase these function and reliability tests, also known as route proving, will include ETOPS missions, landing at diversion airports and testing airport handling services. After a flypast over Airbus’ European sites, the A330neo will head for 15 major airports worldwide over five continents, aiming at achieving 150 Flight Test Hours in three trips.
The route proving tests are performed with the first A330-900 production aircraft, fully equipped with an Airspace by Airbus cabin and flying in launch operator’s Tap Air Portugal colours. The aircraft first flew on May 15, 2018 launching flight-tests to check cabin systems such as air conditioning.
The route proving tests form part of the last trials required for aircraft Type Certification scheduled for summer 2018.
Today two A330-900 flight test aircraft and the TAP customer aircraft are involved in the intensive flight test programme, which will reach 1,000 flight hours during the tour of the Airbus plants.
Launched in July 2014, the A330neo family is the new generation A330, comprising two versions: the A330-800 and A330-900 sharing 99% commonality.
Airbus says it builds on the proven economics, versatility and reliability of the A330 family, while reducing fuel consumption by about 25% per seat versus previous generation competitors and increasing range by up to 1,500nm compared to the majority of A330s in operation. The A330neo is powered by Rolls-Royce’s latest-generation Trent 7000 engines and features a new wing with increased span and new A350 XWB inspired Sharklets. The cabin provides the comfort of the new ‘Airspace’ amenities.