4 members of the Aeronautical Society of Mauritius (AeSM) were invited by Patrice Bechard, Airbus Technical Representative in Mauritius to visit the First to Fly Airbus A330Neo MSN 1819 aircraft during it’s stop on Saturday 30th June 2018 at the SSR International Airport. Airbus A330neo MSN 1819 was doing a world tour to test the aircraft readiness from 18th June 2018 to 7th July 2018, and the route included a stop in Mauritius. We cannot sufficiently thank Patrice Bechard, FAeSM, for his continuous support to AeSM. AeSM members were warmly welcomed by him and his colleague Gilles Cannaud Ribes at SSRIA and were guided by them during the visit.
Below is a report written by AeSM member Keshav Nundloll.
Saturday, 30 June 2018 at 12.50 Local time, the A330neo made its inaugural landing in the continent of Africa, in Mauritius to be more precise. The aircraft with the livery of TAP Portugal was still going under tests flights, so that on-board there were the test pilots together with the engineers of Airbus. This aircraft type is the latest commercial aircraft on the market offered by Airbus alongside the A321 LR.
The A330neo family delivers significant efficiency improvements while also launching the “Airspace by Airbus Cabin”, which offers its passengers the newest and most advanced in-flight experience.
Incorporating the latest-generation Rolls-Royce Trent 7000 engines, along with aerodynamic improvements – including new composite Sharklet wingtip devices that provide 3.7 metres of increased wing span to increase lift and reduce drag – A330neo is an ultra-efficient aircraft that will generate savings through reduced fuel burn.
The longer-fuselage A330-900neo version can accommodate 287 seats in a typical three-class layout or up to 440 in high-density configuration, and has a max range of 6,550 nautical miles.
The A330neo is in effect the launch vehicle for Airbus’ new cabin philosophy, and no detail has been spared when it comes to creating a comfortable environment for passengers that offers more space everywhere – with wide seats, a beautifully lit cabin and the latest generation in-flight entertainment, plus email and Wi-Fi capabilities. Whether on a short, medium or long-haul, everyone can simply settle in and enjoy their flight with all the comfort and technology with which they are accustomed to on the ground. Utilising state-of-the-art cabin developments implemented on the all-new A350 XWB and encompassing four key pillars – comfort, ambience, services and design – “Airspace” claims to offer more personal space, a unique welcome area and Airbus’ signature design elements to transform the A330neo’s cabin into a true
representation of luxury.”
Visiting the new aircraft the AeSM team was able to have a few words with two of the test pilots, Captain Yann Beaufils and Captain George Myczkowski. The cockpit of the new aircraft is similar to that of the A330 ceo, but with better controls resembling that of the A350 XWB. For pilots, only a half-day familiarization course is required to switch from the A330 ceo to the A330 neo. We learned that the aircraft went to El Alto International Airport in La Paz, Bolivia for the performance of the engines in hot, humid and high altitude condition. Icing and de-icing performance tests, especially for the engines, were carried out in Northern Finland.
According to the Chairman of Air Mauritius Arjoon Suddhoo, “all the ingredients are present to create a synergy among the various players of the air industry and make this sector grow in Mauritius”. The CEO of Air Mauritius, Somas Appavou, emphasised “that the arrival of the two A330neo aircraft will allow Air Mauritius to expand its network as well as its flight frequencies to Africa and Asia. It is important to note that an A350 XWB type-rated pilot will also be eligible to fly the A330neo, giving the company more flexibility, thus operating more efficiently. Adding the A330neo to their fleet will allow Air Mauritius to operate these aircraft during the low season, as the A350 is of larger capacity”.
Captain Ravi Baichoo, who is Head Support Flight Operations and Captain & Instructor A330/A340 at Air Mauritius highlighted that for the company, the A330neo is more efficient with a better payload than that of the A330ceo, that Air Mauritius currently has in its fleet. There is also a great improvement in the avionics of the aircraft. The Rolls Royce engines provide the cutting-edge technology with yet lower fuel burn, and the routes Mauritius-Kuala Lumpur and Mauritius-Bombay are particularly expected to benefit from this.
Keshav Nundloll, AeSM