After delays, Airbus finally delivered the first A330-900neo to TAP Air Portugal airline on November 25th. The Portuguese carrier, which decided to change an order for the A350 for the updated version of the A330, will receive a total of 20 aircraft to be used on its international routes.
The planes that TAP will use are leased from Avalon and will be configured with 298 seats – 34 seats in full-flat business class, 96 in economy plus and 168 in economy.
“I am delighted to welcome the first Airbus A330-900 into our expanding fleet. Its unbeatable economics and efficiency will power our business forward, “said Antonoaldo Neves, TAP Air Portugal CEO. “Handing over the first ever A330neo to a long-standing Airbus customer, TAP Air Portugal, is a very important milestone for Airbus,” said Guillaume Faury, President of Airbus Commercial Aircraft.
Despite the friendly environment, TAP has already pressed Airbus to deliver the new jet for quite some time. The A330neo was expected to go into service a year ago, but delays in its certification eventually delayed the delivery date.
Developed from the original A330, the new widebody benefits from technology introduced by the A350 to be more efficient. Among the advances are the wings, more economical Trent 7000 engines provided by Rolls Royce, plus a more comfortable and modern cabin.
According to the manufacturer, these improvements make the A330-900neo capable of delivering a fuel consumption about 25% lower than older aircraft of the same size. In addition, the new aircraft has a large range capable of connecting many destinations that previously required a stopover on the route.
Airbus today has 234 firm orders for the A330-900neo, the largest version of the aircraft. The A330-800neo received its first official order recently: eight units for Kuwait Airways.