Airbus is under pressure from customers of the new A330-900neo jet to solve problems that prevent the aircraft from being approved and delivered for commercial operation.
Launched as a more affordable solution and slightly smaller capacity than the A350, the new A330neo was selected by airlines such as Delta, TAP and Azul.
TAP was expected to receive the first aircraft in 2017, but so far there is no known date for the Portuguese airline to start flights with it. According to Airbus, it will receive the first aircraft in coming days, according to an article published by Flight Global.
The A330-900neo has undergone an intense test drive that included even the first production plane, painted in TAP colors. The plane has already passed several countries on evaluation flights and received approval on November 9 for ETOPS operations, which is required to fly over the Atlantic, for example.
For Delta Airlines, which ordered 25 units of the A330-900neo in 2014 plus 10 aircrafts this week, the horizon maybe is in 2020. The information does not coincide with the European manufacturer’s assertion that Delta would receive the first aircraft in 2019 – certification by the FAA should occur until the end of 2018.
However, it is the Brazilian airline Azul that has claimed much of the delayed delivery of the new airplane. According to company executives for Flight Global, Azul no longer believes it will have the first aircraft delivered next year.
The company, which leased five units after canceling an A350 order, is already admitting to receiving the jet in 2020 although it changed the widebody’s debut date to May 2019 – the original plan was to have the plane in operation at the end 2018.
Delays in aircraft delivery would be linked to problems in Airbus production, according to press reports. The manufacturer has been struggling with its line of narrowbody A320 jets as well, complicating the plans of several customers.
The situation of the A330-900neo, however, is less serious than its smaller brother, the A330-800neo. Substitute for the successful A330-200, the jet only flew for the first time a few weeks ago, but remains without any firm order. At least Airbus does not have to support customer charges for that plane.