Flight International - 26 June 2018

(Jacob Rumans) #1


fiightglobal.com 26 June-2 July 2018 | Flight International | 7

H175 trio come to
Hong Kong’s rescue
This Week P


irbus’s route-proving net-
work for the A330neo might
indicate particular marketing tar-
gets for the airframer as it at-
tempts to generate further interest
in the re-engined twinjet.
Several points on the three-
week route-proving effort, which
began on 19 June, are clearly in-
tended to cover stations of major
customers. These include Atlanta,
Jakarta, Kuala Lumpur and Rey-
kjavik, respectively hubs for Delta
Air Lines, Garuda Indonesia,
AirAsia X and Wow Air.
But the inclusion of Bangkok,
Hong Kong and Manila on the
Asian route-proving tour could
signal further marketing efforts.
Hong Kong’s Cathay Dragon
operates some of the oldest
A330-300s still in service, includ-
ing aircraft over 25 years of age.
Manila is a base for Philippine
Airlines and Cebu Pacific. Philip-
pine Airlines is preparing to re-
ceive its first A350, set to replace
A340s, but the carrier is also an
A330 operator, as is Cebu Pacific,


Test routes point to A330neo targets

Campaign takes in 16 cities and includes stop-offs at Hong Kong, Manila and Bangkok as delivery date approaches


Additional maximum take-off weight increase not on the cards

Following its decision to lift the
maximum take-off weight of the
A330neo to 251t, Airbus does
not foresee a need for a further
hike to that threshold.
Its A330neo is currently based
on a 242t MTOW airframe intro-
duced in 2015, and the

A330-900 has a range of
6,550nm (12,100km).
Airbus has gradually lifted the
MTOW of the A330 since the
-300 entered service in 1994 at
212t. The airframer expects to
put the higher-weight version of
the A330neo into service in mid-

2020, lifting the A330-900’s
range to 7,200nm.
A330neo programme manager
Odile Jubécourt says she did not
expect the type to require an ad-
ditional MTOW increase. “I don’t
think there is a need to do it,” she
says, adding that, in terms of
range, the aircraft already has a
“huge capability”.
But she also points out that the
ultimate decision will depend on
market demands, and states: “It
will always be in our DNA to look
for incremental improvements.”
Jubécourt had previously de-
scribed the 251t figure as a “best
compromise” for the A330neo.
Airbus intends to start flight-
testing the smaller A330-800 this
year, says Jubécourt, which will
also be offered as a 251t aircraft
Widebody will have range of 7,200nm when 251t model makes debut with a range of 8,150nm. ■


Airbus declines to comment
on specific customer discussions.
However, Crawford Hamilton,
its head of A330 marketing,
speaking in Toulouse, pointed
out that older 777-200ERs, as
well as 767s, were among the
types the airframer views as

being targets for replacement
with A330neos.
Hamilton says the A330 had a
“bit of weird delivery profile”,
with relatively few aircraft hand-
ed over in the first few years after
its introduction. But the A330neo
will enter service just as A330s
begin to reach around 20 years of
age, with large numbers reaching
this threshold from 2019 on-
wards. Airbus has 214 A330-900s
on order, including four assigned
to an unidentified customer.
Route-proving flights began on
19 June with the aircraft, in the
livery of launch customer TAP
Portugal, making a 1h 30min
flight to Lisbon, departing the fol-
lowing day for Rio de Janeiro.
The widebody (F-WWKM) will
undertake extended twin-engined
operations flights, approaches to
alternate airports, and tests with
ground-handling systems.
Hamilton says the route-prov-
ing effort will involve about 150h
of flights, spanning 18 days, and
taking in 16 cities. The exercise is
set to run to 7 July.
He adds that the A330neo test-
flight campaign is around 80%
complete. The fleet has logged
around 1,000h across 267 flights.
Service entry with TAP is sched-
uled for later this summer. ■


which uses its examples in a
high-density configuration.
Thai Airways is an A350 and
A330 operator but Bangkok is also
the base for NokScoot, which has
considered the A330neo as a po-
tential successor to its Boeing

Re-engined twinjet – in livery of launch customer TAP – made a 1h 30min flight from Toulouse to Lisbon
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