Six months after Airbus delivered the first A330neo to its launch customer, the brand new airliner has now reached the Americas.
Azul Linhas Aéreas has taken delivery of its first A330neo, leased from Avolon, on May 10, 2019. Thus, the Brazilian airline has become “the first airline from the Americas to fly the A330-900”, Airbus has announced. A330-900 is the first model in Airbus fresh A330neo series.
“We are very proud to be the first A330neo operator in the Americas. This new aircraft will play a key role in the expansion of our international markets supporting our strategy of having a modern and fuel-efficient fleet”, John Rodgerson, Azul’s CEO is quoted in Airbus statement on May 13, 2019. The manufacturer also clarifies that the “international markets” refer to flights between Brazil and Europe and the United States.
Azul will not hold on to the title of the only A330neo operator in the Americas for long, though. An A330-900, destined for Delta Air Lines, has already made its “inaugural test flight” and the delivery is expected in the “coming weeks”, the manufacturer announced on May 7, 2019.
On the same week, another A330neo rolled out in Lion Air’s colors from the paint shop in Toulouse, France. The aircraft is still to “continue its industrial process”, as Airbus puts it, and “proceed soon” to ground and flight tests. Nevertheless, the delivery is expected in the coming weeks. The aircraft to be operated on lease from BOC Aviation.
Airbus A330-900 is the first airliner in the new A330neo series. The A330neo is built upon the previous A330’s features, “leverages” on A350 XWB technology and is powered by Rolls-Royce Trent 7000 engines.
The deliveries of A330neos began in November 2018, with TAP Air Portugal becoming the launch customer. Excluding the latest delivery to Azul, eight A330-900s have been delivered as of April 30, 2019. Besides the launch customer and now Azul, other airlines that operate the new aircraft are Air Senegal and Air Mauritius.
Airbus has 230 orders for the airliner, AirAsia X Malaysia being the biggest customer with 66 aircraft on order, as of the end of April 2019.
Meanwhile, a shorter but further ranging version of A330neo, the A330-800, is still under development. The airliner made its first flight in November 2018, with certification expected shortly, in mid-2019, and first deliveries in 2020.