Kuwait Airways Prepares To Take Delivery Of Its 3rd Rare A330neo

Of the eight Airbus A330-800s ordered by Kuwait Airways, the airline has so far taken delivery of two. However, its third widebody is set to be delivered soon and has been undergoing final test flights in the past few weeks. The most recent test flight took place on August 18th.

A330-800 Kuwait
Kuwait Airways is the largest customer of the ‘rare’ A330-800. However, it has only ordered eight. Photo: Airbus

The progress of 9K-APH

It was back in late October of 2020 that Kuwait Airways took delivery of its first two A330-800s. The shorter version of the A330neo family, the -800, has only had orders for 15 of the jets, with over half (eight to be precise) going to Kuwait Airways.

After an extended lull, the third -800 will soon be delivered to the Middle Eastern carrier. Although its test registration is currently F-WWKU, the aircraft is set to be registered as 9K-APH, with its MSN set at 2005.

Here’s what we know so far about 9K-APH with the help of data from AIB Family Flights:

  • To date, it has taken six test flights with a total of 20 hours of flight time. For reference, 9K-APF had a total of three test flights totaling nine and a half hours, while 9K-APG had five test flights totaling 13 hours.
  • 9K-APH’s most recent test flight was on August 18th and lasted four hours and 45 minutes.
  • Data from RadarBox.com showed that the jet took off from Toulouse and headed to the Bay of Biscay, flying circles off the coast of La Rochelle and Rochefort.
  • Like the other -800s it will join, the jet is configured to have 32 seats in business class and 203 in economy.
A330 Kuwait test flights
The flight path of the most recent flight of 9K-APH. Photo: RadarBox.com

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Where will this aircraft fly?

To find out where this new A330-800 will fly, we only have to look at where the two other A330neos have been deployed. Cities thus far include:

  • Amman (Jordan)
  • Beirut (Lebanon)
  • Bodrum (Turkey)
  • Chennai (India)
  • Cochin/Kochi (India)
  • Dhaka (Bangladesh)
  • Dubai (UAE)
  • Islamabad (Pakistan)
  • Istanbul (Turkey)
  • Lahore (Pakistan)
  • Mumbai (India)
  • New Delhi (India)
  • Paris (France)
  • Riyadh (Saudi Arabia)

As you can see, none of these destinations make full use of the A330-800s fantastic range. This is largely due to the global health crisis.

With Kuwait’s travel restrictions to date, frequencies to these destinations have been limited. However, the country has been progressively opening up, which will perhaps mean more flight time for Kuwait Airways’ A330neo fleet.

Of its existing destinations, flights to London, Guangzhou, or Manila could suit the A330-800 well. Once the airline resumes its service to New York, the type would also fit well for it. This could also be the case for Bangkok in the east or Frankfurt and Milan up north.

A330-800 Kuwait
The first delivery of the A330-800 to Kuwait Airways took place in late October 2020. Photo: Airbus

With vaccination efforts ongoing in Kuwait, the country is poised to open up more. This will allow the airline to lay on more services and should, in turn, put its newly-delivered aircraft to good use.

Have you flown on the A330-800 yet? Share your experiences with us by leaving a comment.