Airbus has pushed back delivery of the first A330-200 freighter until next August as it prepares the aircraft for the start of the test flight programme.

Airbus freighter marketing manager Jonathan Lesieur says the first A330-200F has rolled out of the hangar and will be shown next week to customers as part of a progress review meeting. Speaking to ATI yesterday during the Cargo Facts aircraft symposium in Seattle, Lesieur says the aircraft is still scheduled to fly by year-end and be certified in March. But he says first delivery, which in January was pushed back from the second half of 2009 to spring 2010, is now scheduled for August 2010.

Indian start-up Flyington Freighters was originally scheduled to take the first A330-200F but Lesieur now says it is not determined which customer will take the first aircraft. He says there are several deliveries now planned for August 2010 and Airbus will decide later which delivery will be first.

Flyington placed orders for 12 A330-200Fs in 2007 but industry sources say there is some uncertainty surrounding this order and the carrier has been upset by the delays in the programme. Airbus first announced in 2007 that Flyington's first A330-200F would be delivered in the second half of 2009 and in January the manufacturer indicated deliveries to Flyington would begin in spring 2010. Lesieur declined to comment when asked about Flyington's situation.

Airbus currently lists 65 orders for the A330-200F. Flyington's 12 A330-200Fs are still on this list. Other customers include Etihad Airways, Turkey's MNG Airlines as well as several leasing companies.

The A330-200F ends a gap for Airbus without an active production freighter programme. Earlier in the week Airbus head of worldwide marketing Andrew Shankland told the Cargo Facts conference while the manufacturer currently does not have any orders for the A380 freighter "it does stay in our product portfolio".

Source: Air Transport Intelligence news