Airbus is readying it’s first A330-900 for delivery to their launch customer TAP Air Portugal, with delivery set to take place on 26th November.
The first aircraft was due to be delivered to TAP early this year, but delays at the manufacturing end meant the schedule was pushed back. Hold ups with the Rolls-Royce Trent 7000 engines were blamed for the schedule slip.
European certification for the A330-900 was secured in September, but it is yet to be approved by the US Federal Aviation Administration. Airbus have stated they expect this to happen by the end of the year.
The first of many
Airbus revealed earlier this month that is has 23 A330neos in the process of final assembly for customers. Asa competitor to the Boeing 787, the industry is eagerly awaiting getting their hands on this wide body jet, to see if its performance stacks up in reality as well as it does on paper.
Promising 14% better fuel economy per seat, the aircraft was launched at the Farnborough Airshow in July 2014, but the A330-900 was only flown for the first time in October 2017. The aircraft left the paint shop in December 2016 but didn’t receive its engines until June.
The first TAP Air Portugal A330-900 made its test flight on 15th May 2018 and started the final certification step on June 18th. It was displayed at the Farnborough Air Show in July this year.
So far, there are 234 orders for the A330-900neo, with the largest order of 66 aircraft being held by AirAsia X. Delta Air Lines, Iran Air and Air Lease Corporation have over 20 aircraft on order each. Other orders are in from Garuda Indonesia, Air Senegal and a couple of other leasing companies.
In total, TAP Air Portugal are expecting 10 of the A330-900s for delivery, and have previously said they hope to be flying at least three of them before the end of the year. We think one is a more realistic number.
What can we expect from the TAP A330-900?
TAP will be the first airline to showcase the Airspace by Airbus cabin. It will operate a two class cabin, with business and economy seating, with 298 seats in total.
In business class, it will be a 1-2-1 layout, using Recaro CL6710 flat bed seating with direct aisle access for all. That’s the same seat you’ll find on the El Al Dreamliners and a great choice for luxury seating.
Economy is a 2-4-2 layout, also using Recaro designed seating. There’s no premium economy as such, but there are extra legroom seats for additional comfort in flight. Standard seating offers 31 inches of pitch, whereas extra legroom seats have 34 inches. Every seat has Panasonic Avionics IFE, a power outlet and a USB socket.
TAP have said they are planning to offer Ku-band Wi-Fi on all of the A330neo fleet, which would provide connectivity throughout the flight. Other notable attributes include larger than average toilets and spacious overhead bins, as well as the trendy LED cabin lights with adjustable hues.
We’re pretty excited to try out the Airbus A330-900neo… are you?