Airbus's first flight of the A330-900 also marks the initial flight of the Rolls-Royce Trent 7000 powerplant, which has only undertaken ground tests so far.
The engine – the exclusive powerplant for the A330neo family – is a successor to the Trent 700 on the baseline A330.
It has been derived from the Trent 1000-TEN, manufactured for the Boeing 787, and incorporates technology from the Trent XWB which Rolls-Royce designed for the Airbus A350.
Rolls-Royce says the Trent 7000 (below), which has a 2.84m fan, and a 10:1 bypass ratio, is capable of delivering 68,000-72,000lb (302-320kN) of thrust, and cutting specific fuel consumption by 10%.
It adds that the bypass ratio is the largest for any member of its Trent family. The three-shaft engine features an eight-stage intermediate pressure compressor and a six-stage high-pressure compressor.
Development has taken longer than originally scheduled, contributing to a shift of several months in the A330neo production timeline. The manufacturer has had a high workload over the past year with production of the Trent 1000-TEN as well as the Trent XWB-97 for the A350-1000.
"We are now focused on supporting the flight test programme and ensuring our customers have a smooth entry into service," says civil aerospace president Eric Schulz.
TAP Portugal will be the first carrier to take delivery of the A330neo. It is intending to have 14 of the type, of which 10 are on direct order with Airbus.
Rolls-Royce says the Trent 7000 has undertaken tests covering performance in icing and crosswinds, as well as noise and endurance.