TAP will be the launch operator of this new member in the A330 family, which “brings together unbeatable economics”.
Back-to-back painting of the first two A330neo aircraft has been completed by Airbus for the Portuguese flag carrier TAP Air Portugal.
TAP will be the launch operator of this new member in the A330 family, which Airbus says is “the most popular widebody family ever”.
Both aircraft received the red and green livery at paint facilities in the Toulouse region of southern France, the location of the A330 final assembly line and home to Airbus’ headquarters. The two planes also carry the wording “A330neo / first to fly” on the fuselage.
When in operation later this year, they will join TAP’s already substantial fleet of Airbus-built planes, composed of A330s, A340s and A320 family versions. TAP Air Portugal has ordered 10 A330neo aircraft and will operate a similar number on lease.
Airbus says that the A330neo “brings together unbeatable economics”, with extended-span wings and upturned sharklet wingtips and new Rolls-Royce Trent 7000 engines.
This means 25% less fuel burn per seat compared to planes of earlier generations, along with reduced maintenance costs and what the manufacturer claims is 99.5% operational reliability.
Big fleet overhaul
The new A330neo aircraft will have TAP’s new Airspace cabin. The airline made a point of involving Portuguese companies in its production to boost its image, according to Portugal News.
A total of 53 new long-haul and medium-haul aircraft were ordered in 2015, among them 14 Airbus A330neos, though the total amount invested was not released. At the end of last year, TAP said it expected six highly efficient next-generation planes would be in service by the end of 2018.
The former chief executive of TAP, Fernando Pinto, who stepped down at the start of 2018, described the fleet reinforcement in 2015 as “the biggest leap forward in [the airline’s] recent history, or even in the history of the company”.