Airbus has delivered its first new-generation widebody A330neo to launch operator TAP Air Portugal.

The first of a total of 21 A330-900s due to be delivered to the flag carrier was handed over in a ceremony in Toulouse, France.

TAP Air Portugal’s A330-900 features 298 Recaro seats in a three-class configuration with 34 full-flat business class seats, as well as 96 economy plus and 168 economy class seats. The airline plans to deploy the aircraft on routes from Portugal to the Americas and Africa.

“I am delighted to welcome the first Airbus A330-900 into our expanding fleet. Its unbeatable economics and efficiency will power our business forward,“ said Antonoaldo Neves, TAP Air Portugal CEO. “The A330neo will give us a lot of operational flexibility thanks to its commonality with the other Airbus aircraft in our fleet. This aircraft will be the first equipped with the new Airspace cabin, which is a new concept shaped to meet TAP’s ambition to offer the best product in the industry to our passengers,“ he added.

The A330neo features the new Airspace by Airbus cabin which offers larger overhead storage bins, new LED cabin lighting and latest-generation in-flight entertainment systems and connectivity.

Airbus says the A330neo offers the quietest cabin in its category and is 3db quieter than the B787. The aircraft is also certificated to ICAO’s strict Chapter 14 Noise Standard.

Speaking at the delivery ceremony Guillaume Faury, president of Airbus Commercial Aircraft, commented: “With the A330neo TAP now has the perfect aircraft for the next phase in the expansion of its long-haul network. The aircraft combines the lowest operating cost with the highest standards of passenger comfort.”

TAP Air Portugal currently operates an Airbus fleet of 72 aircraft with 18 A330s, four A340s and 50 A320 Family aircraft. The new widebody will join the airline’s recently delivered A320neo and A321neo aircraft that recently began commercial operation, as well as the A321LR which is expected in 2019.

The A330neo boasts new-generation Rolls-Royce Trent 7000 engines and a higher span 3D optimised wing with new sharklets. Airbus says these advances offer a reduction in fuel consumption of 25% compared with older-generation competitor aircraft of a similar size.

The A330-900 took its first flight in October 2017 and received its Type Certification from the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) in September.

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