Toulouse - The Airbus A330-800, the shorter variant of the A330neo family, has met the sky for the first time. The aircraft (MSN 1888) took off from Toulouse, at 10:31 AM for its first flight.

The A330-900, the elder sister of the aircraft, received certification from the EASA and FAA after a long testing and certification campaign (1400 hours). Since the aircraft systems and maintenance operations are almost similar, the A330-800 will only perform an approximately 300 hours long certification campaign concentrating on flight characteristics.

Airbus launched the A330neo program in July 2014. Since then the Airbus' new widebody accumulated 224 orders from the customers around the world.

Although the orders for the A330-900 are running relatively well, Airbus is struggling to sell the A330-800. So far, Kuwait Airways is the only confirmed customer with eight copies.

Hawaiian Airlines dropped its order for six aircraft and chose the Boeing 787 Dreamliner instead.

Hawaiian declares death sentence for A330-800

The A330-800 has a capacity of 257 seats, ten seats more compared to A330-200. It has a flight range of 8150 nautical miles (1,500 nautical miles more than the current A330ceo). The device is equipped with fuel-efficient Rolls-Royce Trent 7000 engines. The cabin layout is the quieter new Airbus "Airspace Cabin."

According to Airbus, all these innovations provide a 14% reduced operating cost per seat mile.