Airbus Completes First Flight of Its A330-900

By Robert Wall Features Dow Jones Newswires

Airbus SE (AIR.FR) on Thursday said that its newest widebody airliner, the A330-900, had completed its first flight, totaling more than four hours.

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The aircraft took off from Airbus's Toulouse facility in France around 9:56 a.m. and landed around 2:10 p.m. after completing a number of tests. The flight kicks off a test period that Airbus expects to complete mid next year, before the first customer plane is delivered soon after.

The plane competes for orders with the smaller variants of the Boeing Co. (BA) 787 Dreamliner.

The A330-900 is an upgraded version of an Airbus widebody that has been in service since 1994. Airbus has equipped the plane with new engines from Rolls-Royce Holdings PLC to reduce fuel burn. The wing also has been tweaked to be more efficient.

The A330-900, which seats around 287 passengers, is the larger of a family of two planes called the A330neo. The first A330-800, which will have about 257 seats, is due to fly for the first time next year.

Airbus originally expected to deliver the first A330-900 late this year but it pushed back the schedule late last year because of engine delays and other issues.

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Airbus has garnered 212 orders for the A330neo, all but six for the larger model. The market for widebody sales has slowed, though, since Airbus began selling the A330neo in 2014. In the first nine months of this year the plane maker secured only two new orders for A330neos, with four orders cancelled.

Write to Robert Wall at robert.wall@wsj.com

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

October 19, 2017 08:48 ET (12:48 GMT)