Airbus appears set to miss the expected September window for its maiden A330neo flight, but the first aircraft has been transferred to the flight-test division.

The airframer says the aircraft, an A330-900, has been “handed over” to the flight-test team.

This clears the way, it adds, for a maiden flight “in the next weeks” – although Airbus is yet to indicate a probable date.

Airbus had originally been aiming for entry into service of the Rolls-Royce Trent 7000-powered twinjet by the end of this year.

But delays in development, particularly the powerplants, have forced the schedule slip. TAP Portugal is intending to be the first operator to take delivery, in 2018.