Toulouse - Airbus has begun final assembly of the A330-800 and is now planning the first test flight in mid-2018. In addition, the basic version will be complemented by a variant with increased maximum takeoff weight offering a greater range of action.

On November 29, Airbus announced that the final assembly of the first A330-800 began in Toulouse. Thus, MSN1888 is on track for its first scheduled flight in mid-2018, said the aircraft manufacturer. The A330-800 will have a maximum take-off weight (MTOW) of 242 tonnes, and will offer a range of 7,500 nm (13,890 km).

the A330-800 is an evolution of the A330-200 of which more than 600 copies are currently in operation.

Then, Airbus also confirmed the launch of a MTOW variant of 251 tonnes, able to operate very long-haul routes up to 8,150 NM (15,094 km)."

Airbus ensures that the A330-800 brings a new economy and a new generation comfort in addition to an unprecedented range in the 250-seat aircraft market.

This increased MTOW variant will probably come into service in the middle of 2020 because we need to change a few things about the landing gear and the braking system, but these are minor and controlled changes," company said.

The enhanced" A330neo is supposed to make the aircraft more attractive, especially against its most direct competitor, the Boeing 787 Dreamliner.

For the record, the A330-800 is an evolution of the A330-200 of which more than 600 copies are currently in operation. The A330-900 is derived from the A330-300, which has nearly 700 units in service.

With new Rolls-Royce Trent 7000 engines, a new, larger wing size, modified wingtips and other improvements, Airbus promises fuel efficiency per seat reduced by 25% compared to previous generation models, as well as lower maintenance costs.

Three years after its launch, the A330neo program recorded 212 firm orders, 206 for the A330-900 and only 6 for the A330-800 (from Hawaiian Airlines). All A330s are assembled on the same production line. This allows orders to be delivered flexibly according to market requirements," said the manufacturer.

Airbus A330-800neo MSN1888 at station

Airbus A330-800neo MSN1888 VTP fitting

A33088-neo