The Airbus A330-200F has touched down in Toulouse after completing its maiden flight, marking the start of a 180h, four-month flight-test programme.
On the flightdeck of the Pratt & Whitney PW4000-powered freighter (MSN 1004) for the 3h 50min flight were Airbus test pilots Philippe Perrin and Martin Scheuermann, accompanied by test-flight engineers Wolfgang Brueggemann, Stephane Vaux and Pascal Verneau.
The 64t payload freighter variant, which is also offered with Rolls-Royce Trent 700 engines, is due for simultaneous European Aviation Safety Agency and US Federal Aviation Administration certification in March. The first customer aircraft (MSN 1032) – a Trent-powered version - is currently in build and is due to be delivered to launch customer Etihad Airways, in August.
© H. Gousse/Airbus
Airbus freighter marketing manager Jonathan Lesieur says the five-month interval between the certification and first delivery is as a result of the slackening in demand for cargo aircraft combined with the high demand for passenger A330 versions. “This meant that slots that would have been built as freighters will be delivered as passenger aircraft, but we decided to maintain the -200F’s original industrial and certification schedule.”
Airbus holds orders for 67 aircraft from nine customers. Additionally Turkish Airlines has recently signed a memorandum of understanding for two A330-200Fs.
Once testing is complete MSN 1004 will be reworked for a customer and Lesieur says Airbus is currently in “advanced negotiations” to place the aircraft.