The A330neo, Airbus’ newest widebody aircraft, has embarked on a worldwide tour to demonstrate its readiness for airline operations.
As a final step in the aircraft certification phase, these function and reliability tests, also known as route proving, will include ETOPS (Extended-range Twin-engine Operational Performance Standards) missions, landing at diversion airports and testing airport handling services. After a fly-past over Airbus’ European sites, the A330neo will head for 15 major airports worldwide over five continents, aiming at achieving 150 flight test hours in three trips. The first flight in this series brought the A330neo to Lisbon for the first time, from where it will fly to Rio de Janeiro, returning to the Portuguese capital before heading off once more, this time to São Paulo, Recife and Miami. By the end of June, the A330neo will have carried out a test flight plan that will have taken it to Kuala Lumpur, Manila, Jakarta, Bangkok and Mauritius. During the final stage, TAP’s new aircraft will fly to New Delhi, Reykjavik, Chicago and Atlanta, before finishing its journey around the world by returning to the Airbus factory in Toulouse.
The route proving tests are performed with the first A330-900 production aircraft, fully equipped with an Airspace by Airbus cabin and flying in launch operator Tap Air Portugal’s colours. The aircraft first flew on 15 May 2018, launching flight tests to check cabin systems such as air conditioning.
The route proving tests form part of the final trials required for aircraft Type Certification scheduled for summer 2018.
Today, two A330-900 flight test aircraft and the TAP customer aircraft are involved in the intensive flight test programme, which will reach 1,000 flight hours during the tour of the Airbus plants.