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TAP A330neo deliveries at least a year away: Pinto

TAP Portugal is expecting delivery of the Airbus A330neo at the end of the first half of 2018, but indicates it could slip to the third quarter.

Chief executive Fernando Pinto told FlightGlobal during a Star Alliance event in Frankfurt that the aircraft were set to arrive "about June, July, that's our expectation".

Development of the re-engined aircraft – originally due to enter service this year – has been delayed and TAP had estimated, last December, that delivery would be postponed until the first quarter of 2018.

But Airbus recently indicated that the first flight of the A330neo might be pushed back further and not occur until September this year.

This contrasted with Airbus commercial aircraft president Fabrice Bregier's expectations, in January and again in February, that the aircraft would fly in the first half of this year.

Bregier had stated during an Airbus Group briefing in February that the airframer expected the maiden flight to occur "around summer, at the end of the first half".

But the manufacturer has also previously claimed it has flexibility over the delivery schedule for TAP – the first carrier set to take the type.

TAP's Pinto tells FlightGlobal that the airline intends to have three A330neos by the end of 2018.

Rolls-Royce is developing the Trent 7000 powerplant for the aircraft. TAP has ordered 14 A330-900s, out of a total of 210 A330neo in Airbus's backlog.

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