By Andy Sambidge
Etihad Crystal Cargo says new A330-200 freighter undergoes maiden test flight.
A new cargo aircraft that Etihad Airways hopes will improve its payload capabilities is set to be delivered next year after undergoing its maiden test flight, the airline said on Sunday.
Etihad Crystal Cargo’s new A330-200 freighter made its first flight over Toulouse in France, where the aircraft manufacturer Airbus is based.
The flight marks the start of a 200 hour flight-test and certification campaign and paves the way for delivery to Etihad Crystal Cargo, the launch operator, next year, the company said in a statement.
The new A330-200F will enhance significantly capacity with its extensive range and a higher maximum payload, the firm added. Etihad ordered the A330-200F at the 2007 Paris Air Show in Le Bourget.
Des Vertannes, Etihad Airways’ executive vice president cargo, said: “The maiden test flight is always a special occasion for the launch operator and we are very proud to see the Etihad Crystal Cargo A330-200 freighter take to the skies.
“The A330-200F will make a major contribution to the expansion of Etihad Crystal Cargo as it can carry up to 69 metric tonnes of cargo and can fly up to 6,000 kilometres non-stop. This ensures we can continue to offer our customers the very highest levels of service and commitment.”
John Leahy, Airbus’ chief operating officer – customers, added: “The A330-200F is the right aircraft at the right time. We are at the eve of a market recovery, and now is the time for airlines to prepare for future freight growth.”
With its fleet of two Airbus A300-600 freighter aircraft and an MD11, Etihad Crystal Cargo serves 14 cargo freighter destinations, including Frankfurt Haan, Mumbai, Lagos, Colombo and Milan.