|First flight on 19 October 2017|
|Role||Wide-body jet airliner|
|First flight||19 October 2017|
|Introduction||end of Q3 2018 (planned) with TAP Air Portugal|
|Status||In production; undergoing flight testing|
|Number built||2 prototypes|
|Program cost||U.S. $2 Bn (£1.18 Bn)|
|Developed from||Airbus A330|
The Airbus A330neo ("neo" for "New Engine Option") is a wide-body jet airliner currently under development by Airbus from the Airbus A330 (now A330ceo – "Current Engine Option"). A new version with modern engines comparable to those developed for the Boeing 787 was called for by owners of the current A330. It was launched on 14 July 2014 at the Farnborough Airshow, promising 14% better fuel economy per seat. It will exclusively use the larger Rolls-Royce Trent 7000. Its two versions are based on the A330-200 and -300: the -800 should cover 7500 nm (13,900 km) with 257 passengers while the -900 should cover 6550 nm (12,130 km) with 287 passengers. The -900 made its first flight on 19 October 2017 and should be introduced with TAP Air Portugal mid-2018.
At the Boeing 787 launch in 2004, Airbus' response was at first an improved A330, but after negative feedback from airlines and lessors, the A350 XWB became a new design in 2006. After the A320neo launch in December 2010 and its commercial success, Air Asia's boss Tony Fernandes said he would like Airbus to re-engine the A330. New engines like the GEnx or Rolls-Royce Trent 1000 developed for the 787 could offer a 12%-15% fuel burn improvement, and sharklets at least 2%.
Airbus sales chief John Leahy's argument is that the lower purchase price of an A330 even without new engines make the economics of buying an A330 competitive at midrange routes with that of the Boeing 787. An A330neo would accelerate the demise of the A350-800, close in size. Airbus is also considering re-engining the A380, but is wary of having two major modification programs simultaneously.
In March 2014, Delta Air Lines was interested in it to replace its Boeing 767-300ER. In the 250-300-seat market, CIT Group believes an A330neo enables profitability on shorter ranges where the longer-range A350 and Boeing 787 aren't optimized. Steve Mason, CIT vice president for aircraft analysis, said "The A350-800 is not as efficient as they'd like". Steven Udvar-Hazy, chairman and CEO of Air Lease Corp., said, “We don't believe it is rational for us to take the A350-800 and the A330neo [...] I don't see the A350-800 surviving if they do the A330neo”.
AirAsia X flights to London and Paris from Kuala Lumpur were scrapped in 2012 since Airbus A340 weren't fuel efficient enough; AirAsiaX will try again with A330s. As Airbus gradually increases output of the new A350, prolonging the production run of the A330 could help to maintain profitability. As Emirates cancelled 70 orders for the A350, Airbus said it continued to work on re-engining the smaller A330.
On 14 July 2014 at the Farnborough Airshow, Airbus launched the A330neo programme, to be powered by the new Rolls-Royce Trent 7000. It will improve the fuel burn per seat by 14%. Airbus hopes to sell 1,000 A330neo aircraft. Its range will increase by 400 nautical miles (740 km) and although 95% of the parts will be common with the A330ceo, maintenance costs will be lower. New 3.7 metres wider A350 XWB styled winglets, still within ICAO category E airport requirements, and new engine pylons will improve aerodynamics by 4%.
Its development costs will have an impact of around -0.7% on Airbus Return on Sales target from 2015 to 2017, an estimated $2 billion (£1.18 billion). Airbus thinks lower capital cost makes the A330neo the most cost-efficient medium-range wide-body aircraft in the market. Airbus says that it can pursue demand for 4,000 aircraft and says there is an open market for 2,600 jets not already addressed by backlogs with operators already using A330s. Aerodynamic modifications are to include a re-twisted wing and optimised slats.
For The Airline Monitor’s Ed Greenslet, the A330neo would have the advantage of not being designed to fly 8,000 nmi, making the more advanced A350 and Boeing 787 less economical on shorter routes while “the vast majority of long-haul markets is 4,000 nmi or less”. “An A330neo would enjoy a monopoly in its segment instantly”, with the Boeing 767 “essentially out of production”, the Boeing 757 not replaced while the A321neo and the 737-9 are smaller and have less range. Launching the A330neo would probably kill the smallest A350-800.
John Leahy estimates that the A330-900 will have operating costs on par with the 787-9, but will be available at 25% lower capital costs and can reach a production rate of 10 per month after a 7/8 per month rate at the production start. Both A330neo variants are to have a maximum take-off weight of 242 t. The type design was frozen in late 2015.
Boeing Vice Chairman and Commercial Airplanes CEO Ray Conner dismiss the A330neo as a 2004 revamp which can not match the 787 direct operating costs, being 20,000 lb. heavier with its slightly improved 1980 wing, and claims the 787-10 is almost 30% more efficient per-seat than the previous A330-300 and a new engine will not close the gap - but he acknowledge it can be threat as it puts pressure on Boeing which seeks to break even after 850-1,000 787 deliveries.
On 7 September 2015, Airbus announced that it had begun production of the first A330neo with the construction of its centre wingbox and engine pylon. Final assembly of the first, an A330-900, started in September 2016 at the Toulouse Line with the station 40 centre fuselage and wings join. In December 2016 the program schedule slipped by six weeks due to marginal engine development at Rolls-Royce, and launch customer TAP Air Portugal projected its first A330neo would be delivered in March 2018.
The first aircraft left the paint shop in December 2016, awaiting its engines. Its first flight was delayed until September 2017 after the Rolls-Royce Trent 7000s are installed during the summer; they should arrive before the end of the first half of 2017, when the first flight was initially scheduled. After this delay, TAP Air Portugal could receive the first A330neo at the end of the first half of 2018, or even in the third quarter. The engines were shipped to Airbus in June. The aircraft complete with engines showed at Toulouse in September before its first flight.
Major structures of the first A330-800 were entering production in October 2017: high-lift devices are installed on the wing in Bremen, fuselage sections are built in Hamburg, the centre wing-box in Nantes, titanium engine pylons in Toulouse and sharklet wingtips in Korea. Its final assembly started in November 2017, on track for its planned first flight in mid-2018. Structural assembly was completed by February 2018, having its flight-test instruments installed and waiting for its engines before its 300h flight-test programme. At this time, production aircraft progressed through the final assembly line with the first 'Airspace' cabin interior being fitted.
The A330-900 first flight on 19 October 2017 debuts the 1,400 hours flight test campaign involving three prototypes plus the first production aircraft: 1,100 flight hours for the A330-900 and 300 flight hours for A330-800, targeting a mid-2018 EASA and FAA Type Certification. The 4h 15m flight reached 30,125 ft (9,182 m) and 502 kn (930 km/h). It should establish certain maximum operating points and achieve an initial handling qualities assessment including at high angle of attack. This first aircraft, MSN1795, is scheduled to perform 600 h and is to be joined next month by the second, MSN1813, which will fly 500 h, before the third, MSN1819, the first customer aircraft for TAP Portugal with a complete cabin.
Two flight-test engineers and two engine specialists will monitor the 60GB per hour output of 1,375 sensors and 98,000 parameters, including strips of Micro Electro Mechanical Systems to measure aerodynamic pressure distribution across the wing. MSN1795 will undertake simulated icing tests and cold-weather tests in Canada, noise assessment, autoland testing and high angle-of-attack, minimum-unstick checks during rotation with a tail bumper. MSN1813 will test natural icing, assess hot and high conditions in the United Arab Emirates and La Paz and fly 150h of route-proving; it will have rakes and pressure sensors in the engine flows to compare actual thrust with ground bench measurements. MSN1819 will validate the Airspace cabin interior fitting with artificial passengers for ventilation analysis and cabin environment measurements.
The second test aircraft made its maiden flight on 4 December, to be used to validate aerodynamic & engine performance and airline operations. By the end of January 2018, the first logged almost 200h in 58 flights while the second had accumulated nearly 120h in 30 flights. Its flight envelope was fully opened including flutter and stall tests to complete powerplant calibration and strake configuration has been frozen. Airbus commenced autopilot, autoland and high-speed performance testing and in the next three months will pass hot- and cold-weather tests, as well as noise and icing tests. As of 10 April 2018, the two test aircraft had logged over 200 flights and more than 700 hours, testing -27 °C cold weather, natural icing, crosswind landing, 37 °C and 8,000 ft (2,400 m) hot and high operations.
The first TAP Air Portugal aircraft made its first flight on 15 May 2018 in 4h32, it is joining the two previous test aircraft to check the Airspace cabin: air conditioning, crew rest, etc. It started the final certification step on 18 June: function and reliability tests or route proving, including ETOPS, diversion airports landing and testing ground handling over 150 flight test hours, as the flight test programme reaches 1,000 hours.
The larger 112-inch Trent 7000 is 11% more efficient than the 97-inch previous engine, a 2% loss is due to increased weight and 1% due to additional drag from the larger engine, but the sharklets and aero optimization regains 4% for a 12% fuel advantage per trip. Furthermore, fuel consumption per seat is improved by 2% due to the rearranged cabin (Space-Flex and Smart-Lav) with increased seating, offering a 14% fuel burn reduction per seat for the new −900neo compared to the previous 235-tonne −300 version. The newer 242-tonne −300 is already 2% more efficient.
Airbus unveiled a distinctive cockpit windscreen to be featured on the A330neo, similar to that on the A350. Airbus will introduce its new interior concept that promises a better passenger experience on the A330neo. Initially based on the largest 242t MTOW A330, Airbus is studying an improvement to 245 t (540,000 lb) MTOW for the A330neo, which would match the figure originally given for the Airbus A350-800 before it was sidelined in favor of the A330neo. This would give the -900 a 7,000 nmi (12,964 km) range to better compete with the 787-9’s 7,635 nmi (14,140 km)
Along the 19 October 2017 first flight, the MTOW was announced to increase to 251 t (553,000 lb) by mid-2020 with a few changes to the landing gear and brakes, increasing its range by 700 or 1,000 nmi (1,300 or 1,900 km) and compared to the current A330neo or A330ceo. The 251t MTOW was confirmed by Airbus in November 2017. This gave the -900 a range of 7,200 and 8,150 nmi (13,330 and 15,090 km) for the -800.
Since the fan is enlarged from 97 to 112 in (250 to 280 cm), the nacelles are mounted higher, necessitating extensive CFD analysis to avoid supersonic shock wave interference drag, as is the first slat’s dog-tooth. The wing twist and belly fairings are tweaked to approach the lowest drag elliptical span-wise pressure distribution changed by the larger sharklets, like the flap track fairings shape to lower form drag.
Candidate engines included variants of Rolls-Royce's Trent 1000 and General Electric's GEnx-1B. Both engine makers were reportedly interested in winning an exclusive deal should a re-engined A330 be offered. The Trent 1000 TEN (Thrust, Efficiency, New Technology) engine is under development for the 787-10, but Rolls-Royce intends to offer a broad power range.
The A330neo will use the Rolls-Royce Trent 7000 engine, which is an electronic controlled bleed air variant of the Trent 1000 used on the Boeing 787-10, it will have a 112 in (284 cm) diameter fan and a 10:1 bypass ratio. They will deliver a thrust of 68,000 to 72,000 pounds-force (300 to 320 kN).
The Trent is the exclusive powerplant; the British manufacturer offered better terms to obtain the exclusivity. Customers bemoan the loss of competition among engine makers: Steven Udvar-Hazy, CEO of Air Lease Corporation, said that he wants a choice of engines, but Airbus has pointed out that equipping a commercial aircraft to handle more than one type of engine adds several hundred million dollars to the development cost. The head of Pratt and Whitney said "Engines are no longer commodities...the optimization of the engine and the aircraft becomes more relevant."
The decision to offer the aircraft with only one engine option is not unique to Airbus; the Boeing 777X will come equipped exclusively with General Electric GE9X engines, after Rolls Royce made a bid with its Advance configuration but was not selected.
Both the A330-800neo and A330-900neo will retain the fuselage lengths of the A330-200 and A330-300, respectively. Cabin optimisation allows 10 additional seats on the A330-900neo (310 passengers) and six additional seats for the A330-800neo (252 travelers) with 18-inch-wide economy seats. The -800 should cover a 7500 nm (13,900 km) with 257 passengers (406 max) while the -900 should travel 6550 nm (12,130 km) with 287 passengers (440 max). As the variants share 99% commonality, developing the smaller -800 has a negligible extra cost.
After the 19 Oct 2017 first flight, the only A330-800neo customer, Hawaiian Airlines, considered changing its order for six, seeking to fit best its current network to Asia and North America and hopes to grow it, possibly to Europe. The Honolulu to London distance is 6,289 nmi (11,647 km). The -800 demand fall to 3% while the -200 commanded 40% of the ceo deliveries: its range advantage has eroded with the -900 capabilities increase, without any real cost advantages due to scale and lower fuel per trip but higher fuel per seat.
Low fuel prices and young, nine years old average, A330-200s to be replaced from 2020 limit its demand, but the Boeing 767-300/400s are 15 years older and the potential 767-300ER production relaunch, mainly as an interim for American and United airlines, is complicated by a 30-year-old design including obsolete cabin amenities. Before the Boeing NMA is introduced in 2027, the 95 A330 operators offer opportunities and long-haul low-cost carriers could be interested in high density nine-abreast layouts for 386 seats over 6,000–6,500 nmi (11,100–12,000 km) at the 251 t (553,000 lb) MTOW, 500 nmi (930 km) more than a similarly loaded 787-8 and up to 30 more seats.
The -800 production beyond the prototype is doubtful as Hawaiian is choosing between the Airbus A350-900 and the Boeing 787-8/9. In February 2018, Hawaiian was thought to cancel its order for six A330-800s to replace them with Boeing 787-9s priced less than $100–115m, close to their production cost of $80–90m, as Boeing Capital also released Hawaiian from three 767-300ER leases well in advance. Hawaiian denied that the order for the A330-800 had been cancelled, but did not dismiss a new deal with Boeing. In March 2018, Hawaiian confirmed the cancellation of its order of 6 A330-800 and ordered 10 B787-9 instead. Airbus says it was "simply undercut in price".
Amazon.com and United Parcel Service push for a freighter version, stretching the A330-900 to carry more cargo over a shorter range, but retired 767s and A330s provide a lot of conversion potential.
Independent analysis for a 3,350 nm transatlantic flight show the 787-9 has a slight advantage over the A330-900neo in cash cost per available seat miles, while the Airbus outperforms the Boeing once capital costs are included. They have close economics but the A330neo costs $30m less. An A330-900 is worth $115 million in 2018, while a new B787-9 valuation is $145 million, up from $135 million in 2014, but it may have been sold for $110-15 million to prevent A330neo sales.
Between the 2004 launch of the Dreamliner and the A330neo launch in 2014, the market was split almost equally between both, with between 900 and 920 A330ceo/A330neos sold against 1,030 787s. Between 2014 and the neo first flight in October 2017, the A330/A330neo had 440 orders (excluding freighters) compared to 272 for the 787-8/9 (excluding the -10), or since the 787 launch, 1211 A330ceo/neo compared to 1106 787-8/9. Teal Group's Richard Aboulafia opinion is the A330neo should dominate the low end of the twin aisles range/capacity because the 787-8, designed for 8,000-nm+, has the high operating economics and unit price associated.
Flightglobal Ascend Consultancy forecasts 600 deliveries including 10% of -800 variants, less optimistic than Airbus' 1,000. As it is to enter service in 2018, sales are disappointing and A330 production is cut to 50 in 2019 down from 67 in 2017: while it is the widebody with the largest operator base with 1,390 deliveries since 1993, the fleet is still very young with only 46 aircraft retired and industry-leading airlines prefer the Boeing 787 except for Delta Air Lines. The A330neo was late to the market and 19% of the A330 operators are already 787 customers: pessimist forecasts are for 400 sales and the potential Boeing NMA should be more economical than the A330ceo while the A330-800 does not really cover the upper end of the Middle of the market.
Following the A330neo programme launch at Farnborough in July, Airbus received commitments for 121 aircraft from three airlines, and three lessors: 50 for AirAsia X, 12 for Transaero Airlines, 4 for an unnamed Asian customer and 55 for Air Lease Corporation, Avolon and CIT Group. On 19 November, Delta Air Lines became the launch customer for the Airbus A330-900neo, ordering 25 A330-900neo aircraft.
At the end of 2017, the combined A330neo and A330ceo backlog is 317 aircraft. At a delivery rate of 66 aircraft per year, this represent a production of 4.8 years, or 3.3 years for the 220 firm orders.
|19 Nov 2014||United States||Delta Air Lines[I]||—||25||25|
|3 Dec 2014||United States||CIT Group||—||15||15|
|15 Dec 2014||Malaysia||AirAsia X||—||66||66|
|23 Dec 2014||Ireland||Avolon||—||15||15|
|9 Mar 2015||United States||Air Lease Corporation||—||29||29|
|13 Nov 2015||Portugal||TAP Air Portugal[II]||—||14||14|
|19 Apr 2016||Indonesia||Garuda Indonesia||—||14||14|
|11 Jun 2016||Israel||Arkia Israeli Airlines||—||2||2|
|29 Nov 2016||New-Caledonia (France)||Aircalin||—||2||2|
|22 Dec 2016||Iran||Iran Air||—||28||28|
|30 Mar 2017||Iceland||WOW air||—||4||4|
|21 Sep 2017||Brazil||Azul Brazilian Airlines||—||5||5|
|15 Dec 2017||Senegal||Air Senegal||—||2||2|
|15 Dec 2017||Singapore||BOC Aviation||—||2||2|
|4 Jun 2018||—||Unidentified Customer||—||10||10|
Cumulative A330neo orders and deliveries
|Seat width||8-abreast economy: 18 in (46 cm)|
|Cabin width||5.26m / 17ft 3in|
|Hold||136.0 m3 (4,800 cu ft)||162.8 m3 (5,750 cu ft)|
|Cargo capacity||27 LD3 or 8 pallets + 3 LD3||33 LD3 or 9 pallets + 5 LD3|
|Length||58.82 m (193.0 ft)||63.66 m (208.9 ft)|
|Height||17.39 m (57.1 ft)||16.79 m (55.1 ft)|
|Wingspan||64 m (210 ft)|
|MTOW||251 t (553,000 lb)|
|MZFW||176 t (388,000 lb)||181 t (399,000 lb)|
|OEW||132 t (291,000 lb)[a]||137 t (302,000 lb)[b]|
|Fuel capacity||139,090 l (36,740 US gal)|
|Maximum speed||Mach 0.86 (496 kn; 918 km/h)|
|Range||8,150nmi / 15,094km||7,200nmi / 13,334km|
|Engine (×2)||Rolls-Royce Trent 7000|
|Thrust (×2)||300–320 kN (67,000–72,000 lbf)|
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