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PICTURES: A330neo takes off on maiden flight

Airbus's first A330neo has lifted off from Toulouse on its maiden flight, commencing the airborne test programme for the re-engined twinjet.

The aircraft, an A330-900 variant, took off at about 09:57 from the airframer's headquarters in Toulouse.

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A330neo first-flight crew Thomas Wilhelmm and Thierry Bourges prepare ahead of today’s maiden sortie

Airbus

Powered by Rolls-Royce Trent 7000 engines the A330-900 is the larger of the two planned A330neo family members. Airbus says three A330neos will be employed in the flight-test programme - two -900s and one -800 - with type certification due in mid-2018.

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Airbus

The -900 has logged orders for 206 aircraft.

Its largest customers include AirAsia with commitments for 66, Iran Air for 28, lessor Air Lease with 27 and Delta Air Lines with 25.

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Other customers comprise TAP Portugal – set to be the first recipient next year – as well as Garuda Indonesia, Arkia Airlines and lessors BOC Aviation, CIT and Avolon.

Hawaiian Airlines is taking the smaller A330-800.

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