Kuwait Airways' first Airbus A330neo has operated its maiden flight today in preparation for its delivery to the Middle Eastern carrier.
The airline is expected to receive the aircraft sometime later this year, with reports in January 2020 indicating that the delivery date would be during the third quarter of 2020. It is, as of yet, uncertain as to whether that date has been pushed back even further.
In fact, at the time of the order, Kuwait Airways intended to take delivery of its Airbus A330-800 in 2019.
When the carrier placed the order back in 2018, Yousef Al-Jassim, Chairman at Kuwait Airways said: “The A330-800 will seamlessly fit into our fleet expansion and growth plans. Its unbeatable operating economics and performance in addition to best in class passenger comfort make it a sound investment. We are confident that the A330-800 will support us to compete effectively on our expanding route network. Our relationship with Airbus extends beyond aircraft acquisitions and we look forward to further collaboration on technical fields.”
The Airbus A330-800 was, however, a surprising choice considering the aircraft's bleak order backlog. Indeed, there are only two other commercial operators with orders for the type, including Uganda Airlines and Air Greenland.
Kuwait Airways has orders for 8 Airbus A330-800s while Uganda Airlines expects to receive just 2. Meanwhile, Air Greenland is awaiting just 1 Airbus A330-800 which will act as an important milestone in the carrier's fleet replacement plans. Airbus has not yet revealed which airline will become the launch customer for the Airbus A330-800.