Airbus supplements A330 test fleet

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Airbus has refurbished one of its demonstrator A330-200 airframes as an additional testbed, which will be used for upcoming projects such as certification work on the new 242t version of the twinjet.

The airframe had been constructed with provisions to be converted into a tanker, for Airbus's multi-role tanker transport programme, although the conversion was not carried out.

Airbus has instead opted to recondition the aircraft as a passenger variant in order to supplement its fleet for additional flight testing, including work relating to the higher-weight A330 unveiled last year, states a source familiar with the situation.

The aircraft, MSN871, has been repainted in the airframer's in-house livery.

Airbus is planning to raise the maximum take-off weight of both A330 family members to 242t. It expects the enhancements will increase the range of the -200 by 350nm (650km), and that of the -300 by 500nm.