Cathay Pacific Says Farewell To The World’s First Airbus A330 - Simple Flying


The very first A330 to ever roll off the production line at Airbus has been put out to pasture. Having been used for certification flights for Airbus, B-HLJ went on to work for the Cathay group for more than two decades. Now, it has taken its last flight and will be resting its wings in Taipei.

Airbus A-330 Airliner
The original A330 has been retired. Photo: Getty Images

Retiring the first A330

The original A330 prototype has this week been retired by Cathay Pacific. The Airbus, a 27 and a half-year-old veteran, entered service flying for Airbus in November 1992, with registration number F-WWKA. It was Airbus’ very first A330 to roll out of the factory, MSN012, and undertook many of the certification and equipment testing flights for the new model.

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In its day, it was the world’s largest twin engine aircraft ever built. While it was thoroughly put through its paces in order for the type to achieve its certification, it wasn’t the end of the line for this particular model.

HLJ flying in Cathay Pacific livery. Photo: Ikarasawa via Wikimedia

In October 1996, the aircraft transferred to Cathay Pacific, taking on registration number VR-HLJ. Test equipment was removed, and a passenger cabin fitted with 267 economy seats and 44 business class. A year later, its registration was amended to B-HLJ, and that’s how