Airbus has started cutting metal on the first re-engined A330neo, with initial production beginning on the aircraft’s pylon and centre wing-box.
The airframer’s Saint-Eloi site has commenced machining work on the titanium pylon which will carry the Rolls-Royce Trent 7000 engines.
Airbus says the pylon will incorporate design characteristics, including a new part-composite fairing, developed for the A350.
The company’s facility at Nantes has started producing the rib structures for the A330neo’s centre wing-box, it adds.
Two versions of the A330neo are being developed – the A330-800neo and -900neo – with deliveries intended to begin in the last quarter of 2017.
Airbus has secured orders for 145 A330neo jets of which 10 are for the -800neo, comprising six for Hawaiian Airlines and four for TransAsia Airways.
AirAsia X is the largest customer for the re-engined type, with orders for 55 -900neos, while the other 80 are split between Delta Air Lines and lessors Air Lease, Avolon and CIT.
Troubled Russian carrier Transaero has tentatively agreed to take 12 A330neos but the order has yet to be firmed, and is likely to be reviewed as part of a broader fleet plan if the carrier is absorbed into Aeroflot Group.
Israeli operator Arkia has provisionally agreed to take up to four A330-900neos.