On October 30th, Corsair’s A330neo took its maiden flight out of Airbus’ facilities in Toulouse, France. The French carrier will eventually be taking delivery of five A330-900s, and the maiden flight of its first means delivery could be just around the corner.
Maiden flight details
According to FlightRadar24.com, the aircraft flew on October 30th, taking off at 14:06. Flying for just under two hours, the jet landed back at Toulouse at 15:58 local time. The image below shows the flight path taken by the new jet, heading over the city of Montpelier and out over the waters of the Balearic Sea.
The aircraft, test registration F-WWYQ and MSN 1975, was first spotted assembled in late July. According to AIB Family Flights,
The registration that the aircraft will have after delivery to Corsair will be F-HRNB.
Modernizing the fleet, phasing out Boeing
According to FlightGlobal, the French carrier’s move to fly the A330neos has been part of a plan to phase out its Boeing aircraft over the next five years. Instead of the Boeing 747s, it will have an expanded, all-Airbus fleet, including a handful of A330-900s.
The change in plans
In September of 2019, CH-Aviation noted that the French leisure specialist was planning to retire its first Boeing 747-400 in December 2020. After this, the airline was to retire the final two 747s by May 2021.
Of course, the fleet currently is void of any Boeing 747s. This is due to the global health crisis and the expedited retirement of the jumbo jets – which weren’t seeing proper, revenue-generating utilization due to travel restrictions.
The outgoing 747s will eventually be replaced by five A330-900s. Corsair was planning to take three units on firm order from Airbus in August 2020, February 2021, and April 2021, respectively. However, the first A330-900 was deferred to the fourth quarter of 2020, which is why it still hasn’t been delivered to Corsair. This, again, is due to the global health crisis.
In addition to the three on firm order, Corsair will take another two units from lessors.
As such, by Spring 2021, Corsair’s fleet should comprise of five A330-900s and five A330ceos.
— Airbus (@Airbus) October 30, 2020
Where will the new jet fly?
In July, data was made public via Routesonline, showing that entry-into-service is scheduled for mid-December. However, with France currently experiencing a second (and much larger) outbreak of the virus and imposing strict lockdown measures, these plans are naturally subject to change- especially with significant events like this.
Here is what the airline has tentatively planned for the new jets:
- Paris Orly – Mauritius: Effective March 28th, 2021 as a three times weekly service. This will move to four weekly services from April 8th, 2021.
- Paris Orly – Pointe-a-Pitre: This will be a once-daily service from December 14th, 2020.
- Paris Orly – St. Denis de la Reunion: Effective December 14th, 2020, the service will be twice weekly until December 31st, 2020. This will move to a once-daily service on January 24th, 2021, and then five times weekly from May 14th, 2021.
- Paris Orly – St. Denis de la Reunion – Mauritius: This twice-weekly triangle route is set to launch on May 13th, 2021.
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Route information was obtained from Routesonline.com.