It seems Airbus likes to deliver their planes in Paris, as in the same week a new Airbus A321neo was delivered to British Airways, TAP Portugal accepted their first A330neo!
And by first, we mean the first A330neo (A330-900) ever built by Airbus. The program has been a little controversial as sales have been slow for the A330neo program, but Airbus believes now airlines can see it in action they will change their tune!
“Handing over the first ever A330neo to a long standing Airbus customer, TAP Air Portugal, is very important milestone for Airbus,” Guillaume Faury, President Airbus Commercial Aircraft
Additionally, it was just revealed that Airbus plans to re-market the A330neo as the new Boeing 797 killer!
What can we expect of the A330neo?
There are two versions of the A330neo, the A330neo-800 which can travel 7500 nm (Nearly 14,000km) with 257 passengers, and the A330neo-900 which can travel a 6550 nautical miles (Just over 12,000km) with 287 passengers.
TAP Portugal has used this opportunity to fit out the new A330neo with a whole new interior.
There will be a three-class layout with 34 full-flat business class, 96 economy plus and 168 economy class seats.
There is the ‘Executiva’ section, a business class with lie-flat seats (6 foot 6″ if lying flat), privacy screen and large entertainment screen. Business class passengers are also expected to have complimentary WIFI. The seats will be 22″ wide and 44″ of pitch. They all have direct access to the aisle, but are staggered in a 1-2-1 configuration (As in, every odd row has access to windows, whilst event rows are next to the aisle).
Followed by a ‘premium’ economy section called Economy Plus. The seats are 18″ wide and have 34″ of pitch. The ‘plus’ being the additional legroom (3 more inches, wow) and different coloured seats.
Economy Plus customers can also upgrade to the ‘sky couch’ concept seen on Air New Zealand, a way to convert three economy seats into one lie-flat bed, or potentially an area for families to sit together.
This section will be followed by the standard economy cabin that we see throughout the world. The seats are 18″ wide and have 31″ of pitch.
What does TAP Portugal think of the A330neo?
TAP Portugal has been very happy with this milestone, and even put together a little press video
The CEO of TAP Portugal had this to say at the handover ceremony.
“I am delighted to welcome the first Airbus A330-900 into our expanding fleet. Its unbeatable economics and efficiency will power our business forward.”
The new plane has not yet received its airline certificate, but TAP Portugal believes it to be a mere formality and will be operational in a few weeks.
The new A330neo It incorporates the highly efficient new generation Rolls-Royce Trent 7000 engines, and a new higher span 3D optimized wing with new sharklets fully optimized for the best aerodynamic performance. Together these advances bring a significant reduction in fuel consumption of 25 percent compared with older generation competitor aircraft of a similar size.
TAP Portugal has 71 Airbus planes in their fleet (Their only airline provider) and have another 20 Airbus A330-900s on order.
What routes could this plane fly on?
The first few A330neo’s in TAP Portugal’s fleet will be replacing their ageing A340’s that are primarily their Lisbon to Sao Pablo (Brazil) route. The planes, whilst iconic and beautiful, are actually enormous gas guzzlers.
TAP Portugal is also in talks with the EASA and the FAA to obtain all of the needed certifications to fly the A330neo on transatlantic routes from it’s hub in Lisbon. With another 20 A330neos on order, we will soon see TAP Portugal launch new routes to new markets we have not seen before as this plane order represents a significant long haul fleet increase.
Will you be flying their new A330neo?