Kuwait’s First A330-800 Completes Its Second Test Flight

Plane spotters around Toulouse were treated to a glimpse of the rare Airbus A330-800 on Wednesday. The particular aircraft flying was conducting its second test flight and will soon go to Kuwait Airways. The shortest variant of the A330neo family, eight of the -800s will go to the Middle Eastern carrier.

Kuwait’s First A330-800 Completes Its Second Test Flight
Kuwait Airways’ first Airbus A330-800neo should arrive in just over a month. Photo: Airbus

The second test flight

On Wednesday, September 23rd, the soon-to-be Kuwait Airways A330-800 took off from Toulouse at 14:24 local time. According to AIB Family Flights, the test flight lasted for three hours and 44 minutes, returning to Toulouse at 18:08 local time. Twitter user mav31 spotted the aircraft and posted some beautiful photos of the jet:

The aircraft flight path had it going over portions of southern France, particularly over the cities of Limoges, La Rochelle, and Montpellier. It also flew out into the Gulf of Lion and the Balearic Sea, flying several ‘figure 8’ patterns over the water.

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Kuwait a330-800 test flight
This flight was the A330-800’s second test flight. Photo: FlightRadar24.com

A first for Kuwait Airways, a first for the world

This aircraft will be the very first A330-800 for Kuwait Airways. In fact, it will be the very first A330-800 in the world to enter service. The plane currently has test registration F-WWYU. However, once the aircraft is officially delivered to the customer, it will be registered as a Kuwaiti aircraft with registration 9K-APF.

In previous reporting, sources had indicated that the airline would configure the aircraft to have 226 seats, including 23 in the business-class cabin.

“The A330-800 will seamlessly fit into our fleet expansion and growth plans. Its unbeatable operating economics and performance in addition to best in class passenger comfort make it a sound investment. We are confident that the A330-800 will support us to compete effectively on our expanding route network. Our relationship with Airbus extends beyond aircraft acquisitions and we look forward to further collaboration on technical fields.” -Yousef Al-Jassim, Chairman Kuwait Airways (2018)

As we had reported last month, the delivery of this aircraft has been delayed by several months and is now expected in November.

The second A330-800 on the way

Interestingly, AIB Family Flights data shows that Kuwait Airways’ second A330-800 isn’t too far behind this first jet. The aircraft has test registration F-WWCL and was first spotted on May 15th. Taking on the registration 9K-APG, the aircraft has conducted one four-hour test flight, which took place on July 30th – about a month after the first -800 had its first test flight.

Uganda Airlines Airbus Aircraft
Uganda Airlines ceased operations in 2001 but has recently relaunched itself. Photo: Airbus

In total, Kuwait Airways will take eight of the A330-800 and is only one of three confirmed and named customers for the short variant. The other customers identified are Uganda Airlines and Air Greenland, who have ordered two and one, respectively. This will make the A330-800 one of the rarest Airbus aircraft in the sky unless more orders for the jet come in.

ATC News notes that Uganda Airlines’ A330-800 has already commenced assembly as of June 26th. While Kuwait Airways’ -800s have manufacturer serial numbers 1964 and 1969, Uganda Airlines’ -800 has MSN 1977, meaning it’s not too far behind.

Are you excited to see the A330-800 enter commercial service? Please share your thoughts with us in the comments.