Airbus takes another jab at Boeing with maiden flight of new plane

Key Points
  • The larger version of Airbus's latest A330 is scheduled for certification in mid-2018
  • The European aerospace firm claims it will save 14 percent of fuel per seat on the previous version
Airbus A330neo on its maiden flight.
Source: Airbus

Airbus debuted its A330neo Thursday as the new plane took off from Toulouse, France on its maiden test flight.

The aircraft is a medium-to-long-range wide-body jet with a Rolls-Royce Trent 7000 engine. The two versions, the A330-800 and A330-900, can accommodate 257 and 287 passengers respectively.

'Neo' stands for new engine option.

The A330-900 version, which took to the skies this morning, is destined for full certification around the middle of 2018. The slightly smaller A330-800 is set to follow in 2019.

Airbus has claimed the latest A330 will use 14 percent less fuel per seat.

Industry observers suggest the fuel-friendly revision is designed to up competition with the latest version of Boeing's 787 Dreamliner.

The A330-800 is built to fly a maximum of 13,900 kilometers while the 900 should cover 12,130 kilometers.

Airbus has said both plane configurations have the ability to take greater payloads, allowing it to be used comfortably on such routes as Kuala Lumpur to London, which is approximately 10,600 kilometers.