November 6, 2018 – The first A330-800, the type ordered by Uganda Airlines, took to the skies on its maiden flight today, kicking off a 300 hour flight test campaign to certification in 2019.
The first flying example of the aircraft that Uganda hopes to take delivery of in December 2020 took off at Blagnac in Toulouse, France at 10:31am local time (12:31pm EAT), for the maiden flight that was conducted over south-western France.
The A330-800 has so far secured commitments for ten aircraft from Uganda Airlines and Kuwait Airways which recently signed up for eight.
The -800’s larger family member the A330-900 recently achieved European certification paving the way for delivery to launch customer TAP Portugal. Dubbed the A330-neo, both variants feature an improved wing and new generation Trent 7000 engines which combined with aerodynamic improvements to the airframe, deliver a 14pc fuel burn advantage over the baseline A330.
Launched in July 2014, the neo’s two versions – the A330-800 and A330-900 – are nominally designed to accommodate 257 and 287 passengers respectively in a three-class layout. They come fitted with the new “Airspace” cabin that features a flat ceiling and larger cabin luggage bins.
Uganda signed an MoU for two A330-800 neo’s during the Farnborough Air Show in June with back to back deliveries of the aircraft expected towards the end of 2020.
Uganda Airlines which is finalising financial arrangements for four Bombardier CRJ-900’s for its regional feeder network expects to start commercial operations in April 2019.
A number of African Airlines have including Air Mauritius and Rwandair have ordered the larger -900 and will be taking delivery in the coming months.