The aircraft, MSN1888, took off Tuesday morning from Blagnac, France for its maiden flight. The crew will perform flight-physics tests required for this variant.

The smaller version of the A330neo program currently has no firm orders even though it is due to enter commercial service in 2019. 

Airbus’ re-engined A330 program has been a slow-seller for many different reasons; the relatively young A330 in-service fleet and strong competition from the Boeing 787 being the most important. Airbus has 224 firm orders, but all of them are for the larger variant A330-900. Boeing scored a coup earlier this year when it managed to persuade Hawaiian Airlines to cancel its A330-800 order and move to the Boeing 787. The first A330-900 is due to enter service with TAP Portugal in the coming weeks.