Airbus does not foresee a need for a further hike to the maximum take-off weight of the A330neo, following its decision to lift the threshold to 251t.

Its A330neo is currently based on a 242t MTOW airframe introduced in 2015, and the A330-900 has a range of 6,550nm.

Airbus has gradually lifted the MTOW of the A330 since the -300 entered service in 1994 at 212t.

The airframer expects to put the higher-weight version of the A330neo into service in mid-2020, lifting the A330-900's range to 7,200nm.

A330neo programme manager Odile Jubecourt, speaking to FlightGlobal in Toulouse ahead of a route-proving flight to Lisbon, said she did not expect the type to require a further MTOW increase.

"I don't think there is a need to do it," she says, adding that, in terms of range, the aircraft already has a "huge capability".

But she also points out that the ultimate decision will depend on market demands, and states: "It will always be in our DNA to look for incremental improvements."

Jubecourt had previously described the 251t figure as a "best compromise" for the A330neo, which is powered by Rolls-Royce Trent 7000 engines.

She also stresses that A330neo testing has not revealed any evidence of problems with the powerplant, despite its design being derived from the Boeing 787's Trent 1000, currently the subject of extensive scrutiny over blade durability.

Jubecourt insists the Trent 7000 is "different" powerplant. "We're very confident about the engines," she says, but adds that the company is still co-operating closely with Rolls-Royce given the Trent 1000 situation.

Route-proving is part of the final stages of certification for the A330-900, which is set to enter service with TAP Portugal this summer.

Airbus also intends to start flight-testing the smaller A330-800 this year, says Jubecourt, which will also be offered as a 251t aircraft with a range of 8,150nm.

Source: Cirium Dashboard