Airbus will complete flight-testing of the A330-800 in mid-2019 but the first delivery to launch customer Kuwait Airways is not due until 2020.
The smaller A330neo variant took off on its first flight from Toulouse earlier today.
Airbus’s head of development flight-tests, Jean-Philippe Cottet, says that the single A330-800 test aircraft will undergo a 350h flight-test programme, with certification due in mid-2019. However Airbus says that the "first delivery at the moment will be to Kuwait Airways in the first half of 2020".
Airbus has a single firm customer for the Rolls-Royce Trent 7000-powered A330-800 – Kuwait Airways – which signed a firm order in October for eight aircraft.
A330 marketing chief Crawford Hamilton confirms that Kuwait is due to be the first operator. The previous launch customer, Hawaiian Airlines, cancelled its order earlier this year and switched to the Boeing 787.
Story updated to correct date of first delivery