Air Belgium’s Airbus A330neo livery has now taken to the skies for the first time. The aircraft took its second flight yesterday, having been repainted into the Brussels-based airline’s livery in August. It is currently expected to be delivered to the airline by the end of the month.
Since its inception, Air Belgium has been known as the airline only using Airbus A340 aircraft despite its four engines seemingly going out of fashion. Despite this, the airline is now changing its strategy, with the imminent arrival of two far more efficient A330-900 neo aircraft on the cards.
First flight in its livery
According to data from AIB Family, the fuselage for the A330neo with line number 1861 was first spotted in March 2018. The aircraft was meant to go to Air Berlin until that airline ceased operations. After a brief stint bound for Rwandair, the aircraft looks set to go to another AB airline, this time, Air Belgium.
The aircraft took its first flight on July 21st, making it 0.12 years old. However, the test program didn’t continue straight away. Instead, the aircraft was sent to the Airbus paint shop in Toulouse, from where it emerged with its red, yellow, and black livery in early August. Yesterday Simple Flying reported that another aircraft in a red, black, and yellow livery had also taken its first flight.
The aircraft is currently flying with the Airbus test registration F-WWKQ. Yesterday’s second flight of the jet lasted precisely three hours. The plane departed from Toulouse at 14:18 and touched back down at 17:18. The aircraft flew straight out to the Bay of Biscay, climbing to 41,000 feet. It then descended down to 10,000 feet, where it completed several turning maneuvers at a slower speed than before it descended.
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What’s next for the aircraft?
The aircraft will likely undergo one or two more test flights before pilots from the airline head to Toulouse to complete an acceptance flight. During this flight, pilots check that the aircraft performs to their expectations and are happy to accept the plane. If something is not quite right, it may be tweaked by Airbus before a second acceptance flight.
Once the airline is happy to fly the aircraft, it will take delivery of it on paper in Toulouse before it typically flies the aircraft to its home base. Recently this hasn’t always been the case, with Etihad’s A350-1000s and ANA’s last A380.
Air Belgium will almost certainly take delivery of its aircraft straight away, as it has plans to use the A330-900 in passenger service from mid-October. The aircraft’s three-cabin configuration is expected to be used for flights to and from Mauritius.
Are you excited to see the Air Belgium Airbus A330neo livery gracing the skies? Let us know what you think and why in the comments!