Airbus’s A330-900 is likely to obtain extended twin-engined operations approval in October, as the type's Rolls-Royce Trent 7000 engine closes in on certification.
The -900 is one of two aircraft in the re-engined A330neo family, and launch operator TAP Portugal's initial aircraft – on display at the Farnborough air show – has recently undertaken extensive route-proving exercises.
Rolls-Royce states that it is expecting "imminent" certification for the engine from the European Aviation Safety Agency, ahead of third-quarter entry into service.
Trent 7000 programme director Chris Davie says the manufacturer with then aim for ETOPS approval, with intentions for 330min clearance.
He says testing should be completed around early August. "We'll strip the engine down, assess the components, and do that by the end of September or early October," he says.
Six Trent 7000s are fitted to three test A330-900s, including the TAP route-proving jet, and Rolls-Royce head of Airbus customer marketing Peter Johnston says the flight testing has progressed smoothly.
"There's a spare engine in Toulouse, but we’ve not needed it at all," he says. "It hasn't even come out of its box."
Johnston describes the Trent 7000 as a "twin" to the Trent 1000-TEN, combining the Trent 1000 architecture with Trent XWB technology.
While Davie is not specific about the fuel savings achieved during test flights, he says that the manufacturer is "confident the engine meets design targets for fuel burn".
Rolls-Royce has claimed a 10% specific fuel consumption improvement on the earlier Trent 700 for the A330. Airbus says that, once adjusted for the higher engine weight and aerodynamic improvements, the A330neo will cut fuel burn by 14%.
Airbus has landed orders for 224 A330-900s. The Trent 7000 will also power the smaller A330-800, set to begin test flights later this year.