Toulouse - Airbus delivered the first Airbus A330-900 to the launch customer TAP Air Portugal. The improved version of the highly successful A330 has a further flight range and is about 25 percent more fuel-efficient than the older version.

Airbus finally delivered the first A330neo to TAP Air Portugal with one year delay. The Portuguese flag carrier was supposed to receive the device in the fourth quarter of 2017.

But due to problems with the Rolls-Royce Trent 7000 engines, the delivery has been postponed several times. TAP's A330-900 made a promotional tour around the world while performing required tests for its certification campaign. The MSN 1819 visited 15 major airports in five continents.

Airbus is under pressure of A330neo customers

The A330-900 is comparable to the A330-300 regarding the size. The device is able accommodates 298 passengers (34 full-flat seats in Business Class, 96 in Economy Plus and 168 in Economy).

The cabin is equipped with the so-called Airspace by Airbus cabin. The new cabin offers passengers larger bins, relaxing led lighting system and the improved IFE (In-Flight Entertainment System) with broadband internet connection.

The A330neo is a new generation wide-body incorporating the highly efficient new generation Rolls-Royce Trent 7000 engines. The new extended and 3D optimized wing with new winglets provide a superior aerodynamic performance. These enhancements provide a significant reduction in fuel consumption up to 25 percent compared with previous generation widebodies.

Furthermore, new composite nacelles and fully faired titanium pylons reduce the weight imposed on the wing structure and help to increase the aerodynamic performance of the wings.

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The current Airbus fleet of TAP consists of 72 aircraft - 18 A330, four A340, and 50 A320 family aircraft including 15 A320neo, 12 A321neo, 12 A321LR. The Portuguese operator will mainly use its A330neos on routes to South America and Africa and will replace current A330s and A340s over time.

TAP will receive 20 A330-900 more in the coming years. This first copy is leased from Avolon.

To date, Airbus has accumulated 242 orders for the A330neo. AirAsia X is the largest customer with 100 devices followed by Air Lease Corporation (28 copies) and Delta Air Lines (25 copies).

There are also 28 A330neo for Iran Air on the backlog of the European manufacturer, but due to sanctions imposed by the U.S government the fate of this order yet to be unknown.