New A330-200 Freighter takes to the skies
The new dedicated Freighter variant of the A330 Family made its maiden flight today. This milestone marks the start of a 180 hour flight-test and certification campaign.
Airbus said that first delivery of the type to launch operator, Etihad Crystal Cargo, is planned for the summer of 2010. The aircraft has gained 67 firm orders with nine customers. In addition to these orders, the aircraft has been selected by a tenth customer - Turkish Airlines - following the recent signing of a memorandum of understanding (MoU) for two A330-200Fs.
Airbus sees the need for over 3,400 freighters in the next 20 years to cater for a 5.2% average annual growth rate. In turn, this will require around 1,600 mid-sized freighters, of which the A330-200F will play an important role.
With a greater payload than initially anticipated, the A330-200F offers two operational configurations depending on the planned mission. The aircraft can carry more than 64 metric tonnes over 4,000 nautical miles / 7,400km, or more than 69 metric tonnes up to 3,200 nautical miles / 5,930km - non-stop.