First flown in 1992 the A330 was developed at the same time as the four-engined Airbus A340 and shared common fuselage and wing components. The first variant (series 200) was delivered to Air Inter in 1994 and was followed by the slightly larger series 300. This has been followed by dedicated freighter variants.
A multi-role tanker and transport variant based on the series 200 has been developed as the Airbus A330 MRTT, this was further developed as the Northrop Grumman KC-45 which won a United States Air Force order which has since been cancelled.
Design and development
Airbus intended the A330 to compete directly in the ETOPS (Extended-range Twin-engine Operation Performance Standards) market, specifically with the Boeing 767. The A330 program was launched in 1987; airlines purchased it to replace the McDonnell Douglas DC-10. The A330 is 38% more fuel efficient than the DC-10.
The A330's fuselage and wings are virtually identical to those of the smaller A340 variants, although it has different engines. The A330 basic fuselage design is inherited from the Airbus A300, and the nose/cockpit section and the fly-by-wire system and flightdeck are inherited from the A320. Both the A330 and A340 are assembled on the same final assembly line at Toulouse-Blagnac, France.
By the end of July 2008, a total of 1,006 A330s had been ordered and 555 delivered. The 1,000 milestone was passed with orders from the 2008 Farnborough Air Show.
There are two main variants of the A330. The A330-300 was launched in 1987 with introduction into service in 1993. The A330-200 was launched in 1995, introduced in 1998 with passenger, freighter and tanker (Airbus A330 MRTT) variants available.
The A330-200 was developed to compete with the Boeing 767-300ER. The A330-200 is similar to the A340-200 or a shortened version of the A330-300. With poor sales of the A340-200 (of which only 28 were built), Airbus decided to use the fuselage of the A340-200 with the wings and engines of the A330-300. This significantly improved the economics of the plane and made the model more popular than the four-engined variant.
Its vertical fin is taller than that of the A330-300 to restore its effectiveness due to the shorter moment arm of the shorter fuselage. It has additional fuel capacity and, like the A330-300, has a Maximum Take-Off Weight (MTOW) of 233 tonnes. Typical range with 253 passengers in a three-class configuration is 12,500 km (6,750 nautical miles).
Power is provided by two General Electric CF6-80E, Pratt & Whitney PW4000 or Rolls-Royce Trent 700 engines. All engines are ETOPS-180 min rated. First customer deliveries, to ILFC/Canada 3000, were in April 1998.
The A330-200 is available as an ultra-long range corporate-jet by Airbus Executive and Private Aviation. The Boeing equivalent is currently the 767-300ER and in the future will be the 787-8. The A330-200 will eventually replaced by the A350-800.
In an announcement on 9 September 2008, Airbus released plans for a higher gross weight version of the A330-200 to more effectively compete against the Boeing 787. This new version will have a 238t MTOW and a range of 6,840 nmi (12,670 km). Airbus believes the first 20 787-8s will have a 219.5t MTOW and be limited to a 6,720 nmi (12,450 km) range, around 1,000 nmi (1,900 km) less than the figures published by Boeing. Korean Air became the first customer on 27 Febuary 2009, ordering six with deliveries starting in 2010.
Due to flagging A300-600F and A310F sales, Airbus first began marketing a freighter derivative of the A330-200 around 2000-2001, although it was not launched at that time. The A330-200F re-emerged at the 2006 Farnborough Airshow and received its industrial go-ahead in January 2007. The first flight is planned for late 2009.
The A330-200F is a mid-size, long-haul all-cargo aircraft capable of carrying 64 tonnes over 4,000 NM / 7,400 km, or 69 tonnes up to 3,200 NM / 5,930 km. It introduces a new versatile main-deck cargo loading system that will be able to accommodate both pallets and containers. Several different arrangements will be possible on the main deck, taking up to 23 Side-by-Side (SBS) pallets, aimed at the high volume, high value commodities or Single Row (SR) loading of 16 pallets (96”x 96”x125” SR pallets) and/or nine AMA containers aimed at the general cargo higher density markets.
To overcome the standard A330's nose-down body angle on the ground, the A330F will make use of a revised nose landing gear layout. The same leg will be used, however it will be attached lower in the fuselage, requiring a distinctive blister fairing on the nose to accommodate the retracted nose-gear.
As of 1 January 2009, Airbus had 65 firm orders from nine customers: Aircastle (7), BOC Aviation (5), Etihad Airways (3), Flyington Freighters (12), Guggenheim Aviation Partners (2), Intrepid Aviation Group (20), MatlinPatterson (6), MNG Airlines (2), and OH, Avion LLC (8). Additionally ACT Airlines has signed an MOU for 2. The first delivery will be to Flyington Freighters in Spring 2010. 
The A330-300, which entered service in 1993, was developed as replacement for the A300. It is based on a stretched A300-600 fuselage but with new wings, stabilisers and fly-by-wire systems.
The A330-300 carries 295 passengers in a three-class cabin layout (335 in 2 class and 440 in single class layout) over a range of 10,500 km (5,650 nautical miles). It has a large cargo capacity, comparable to early Boeing 747s.
It is powered by two General Electric CF6-80E, Pratt & Whitney PW4000 or Rolls-Royce Trent 700 engines, all of which are ETOPS-180 min rated. French domestic airline Air Inter was the launch customer for the aircraft.
By the end of May 2009 a total of 1,021 aircraft of the A330 have been ordered (557 A330-200, 65 A330-200F and 399 A330-300) and 616 delivered (346 A330-200 and 270 A330-300).
Accidents and incidents
As of June 2009, the Airbus A330 has been involved in 10 incidents, including two confirmed hull-loss accident and three other losses, for a total of 235 fatalities.
Published - July 2009
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