From left to right: Nuno Cardoso, Chief Pilot of the A330 fleet of TAP; Thierry Bourges, responsible for the test pilot team of this project, Victor Pereira, Instruction Coordinator of the A330 fleet of TAP and the 4th element is an airbus flight technician. Picture from TAP.

LONDON – Pilots from TAP Portugal were lucky enough to test fly the A330-900neo testbed aircraft in preparation for when the carrier is to receive the first of its type later this year.

In Toulouse yesterday, Nuno Cardoso, TAP’s A330/A340 chief pilot followed by Victor Pereira, TAP’s A330 Fleet Instruction Coordinator tested the aircraft to demonstrate the performance of this new aircraft variant.

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The two TAP captains were accompanied by Airbus test pilot Thierry Bourges, who had overall responsibility in the test program of this variant. With the carrier being the launch customer, the captains expressed very pleased behaviors and were happy with how the aircraft acted in the testing phase.

This aircraft will be the first equipped with the new version of the Airspace cabin, which will offer TAP a new USP in the seats that they provide to flyers.

On top of this, the carrier will benefit from Rolls Royce’s Trent 7000 engines which will provide a better fuel efficiency of up to 14% and improvements aerodynamically. This 14% fuel cost saving makes the A330neo the most efficient wide-body aircraft.

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TAP Portugal has 20 of the -900neo aircraft on order with the first delivery due to take place in the second half of 2018. There are currently 214 units of the A330-900neo on order which will all be powered by Rolls Royce’s Trent 7000 engines.