Air Belgium’s first Airbus A330neo operated its first flight on July 21, 2021, registered as the F-WWKQ (Temporary registration, Final registration OO-ABG); the three-hour test flight comes just months before its delivery to the Belgian airlines.
The Air Beluim’s first Airbus A330neo variant will be introduced on the new route between Brussels Airport and Mauritius on 15th October 2021; the aircraft will fly every Tuesday and Friday from these destinations in the initial phase. Whereas the second aircraft is expected to be delivered by November 2021, which will be part of the winter 2021/2022 destination program.
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Maiden Flight on the Belgium National Day
The Airbus aircraft with the temporary alias F-WWKQ took off from Toulouse at 12:52 UTC; the flight AIB01KQ lasted for about 3 hours and 20 minutes on the air over the Mediterranean Sea towards Corsica. The pilots did a long series of aircraft tests up to the altitude of 41,00 feet on the latest aircraft from the Airbus family before returning to the Toulouse.
The A330-900 also performed a taxi check and aborted take-off test as part of its ground test on the special occasion of National Belgium Day.
Air Belgium’s New A330neos
The aircraft that are about to join the Air Belgium fleet was initially manufactured for Air Berlin. The airlines had ceased its service in October 2017 following the bankruptcy filing in August 2017 for insolvency in Berlin court, after one of its biggest shareholders, Gulf Airline Etihad, withdrew its financial support.
After Air Berlin’s bankruptcy, the A330neos were designated for the services under RwandAir’s fleet. The aircrafts had been even decorated in the livery of the RwandAir(Twitter), but airlines later decided not to buy the new A330neo variants. The airlines had canceled both of A330neos from Airbus, including two of its order for Boeing 737 MAX8s from Boeing in September 2020. The toll the aviation industry took after the global pandemic had halted the airline’s growth plan, CEO of RwandAir, Yvonne Makolo, noted that the airline’s fleet would remain as it is for the time being, and their network expansion plan had to slow down considering the current scenarios.
So, Air Belgium will be the first to officially put these new generation planes in service in the shades since 2017; the airlines will lease the two A330neos from the Air Lease Corporation. These two modern Airbus A330-900neo aircraft will be replacing the two of Airb Belgium’s A340s.
In a statement, the CEO of Air Belgium, Niky Terzakis, said that the airline is very happy and proud to welcome these two aircraft into their fleet. Their pleasant experience working with the older variant of Airbus A340s that demonstrated reliability, comfort, and performance was the contributing factor for the decision. Air Belgium is looking forward to providing even greater and superior service to the passengers with the new Airbus A330neos and reducing the environmental impact by 25%.
The ‘Best Product Launch’ award-winning aircraft from the Airbus family has certainly introduced a new level of comfort, ambiance, and designs with uncompromised services to the passengers. The latest aircraft from the Airbus family offers more space everywhere for the passengers with wide seats, beautifully lit cabins, and the best in-flight entertainment system. The aircraft can accommodate up to 260-300 passengers in a typical three-class configuration and up to 440 in a high-density configuration.
Similarly, the aircraft from the A330-line hasn’t fallen short on its performance aspects; the A330-900neo aircraft is the latest and most advanced aircraft from the Airbus family, performance-wise. The aero-dynamics improvements, along with the cost-efficient Roll Royce Trent 700-72 engines, will reduce the fuels consumption and lessen the CO2 emission by 25% more than the older variants from the Airbus family. Also, the increased lift and reduced drag, including the new composite Sharklet wingtip devices, have improved the environmental performance of the aircraft.
The A330-900 aircraft has an overall length of 63.66 meters with a cabin length of 50.36m, fuselage width of 5.64m, and height of 16.79m. The A330neo variant can take off with a max weight of 251 tonnes, and 191 tonnes max landing weight with zero fuel weight of 181 tonnes. A330-900 can store up to 1,39,090 liters of fuel and cover a distance of 7,200miles on a single flight.