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.
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:
Amazing Light on the 1st #Airbus A330-800 for @KuwaitAirways back from its 2nd flight test ! 9K-APF msn 1964. Note the A330neo decal on the wingtip !@Airbus @airplusnews #A330neo #Kuwait #Toulouse #Crew #Pilot #Aviation #Plane #Travel #Sky #Flight #avgeek pic.twitter.com/OkR7UqnoVj
— mav31 (@mav31_photo) September 23, 2020
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.
Stay informed: Sign up for our daily aviation news digest.
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)
لقطات لأول طائرة A330-800 مملوكة للخطوط الجوية الكويتية يتم تحضيرها حالياً للتسليم في مصنع الإيرباص
The first fully owned aircraft by Kuwait Airways, the A330-800, is getting ready for delivery, at the Airbus factory pic.twitter.com/SUp9XAkAV2
— Kuwait Airways (@KuwaitAirways) March 5, 2020
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.
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.