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Airbus A330

By Wikipedia,
the free encyclopedia,

Airbus A330
Northwest Airlines A330-300
Role Wide-body jet airliner
Manufacturer Airbus
First flight 2 November 1992
Introduced January 1994 with Air Inter
Primary users Northwest Airlines
Qatar Airways
Cathay Pacific
Number built 616 as of 31 May 2009 [1]
Unit cost A330-200: US$176.3 to $185.5m (2008)[2]
A330-300: $195.9 to $205.7m (2008)
A330-200F: $180.6 to $187.7m (2008)
Developed from Airbus A340
Variants Airbus A330 MRTT
Northrop Grumman KC-45

The Airbus A330 is a large-capacity, wide-body, twin-engine, medium-to-long-range commercial passenger airliner. Built at Toulouse in France by Airbus over 600 have been delivered.

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.


Air Algérie Airbus A330-200 in Montréal, Canada
Air Algérie Airbus A330-200 in Montréal, Canada

TAM Airlines A330-200
TAM Airlines A330-200

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.[1]


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.

Artist's concept of the A330-200F derivative
Artist's concept of the A330-200F derivative

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.

Power is provided by two Pratt & Whitney PW4000 or Rolls-Royce Trent 700 engines.

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. [2]

Other wide-body freighters include the Boeing 767-300F, Boeing 747-400F, McDonnell Douglas DC-10F, McDonnell Douglas MD-11F, Boeing 777F and the Lockheed L-1011 Tristar.


US Airways A330-300 taking off from London.
US Airways A330-300 taking off from London.

Delta Air Lines A330-300 landing at Amsterdam.
Delta Air Lines A330-300 landing at Amsterdam.

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.

The direct Boeing equivalents are the Boeing 777-200 and the Boeing 767-400ER.

Tanker derivatives

Airbus A330 MRTT
The Multi-Role Transport and Tanker version (MRTT) of the A330-200 provides aerial refueling and strategic transport. To date it has been ordered by Australia, Saudi Arabia, the UAE, and the UK.
Northrop Grumman KC-45
On 29 February 2008 the United States Air Force announced that an American assembled variant of the A330 MRTT, now designated KC-45A by the USAF, had been selected to replace the Boeing KC-135 Stratotanker. The Air Force's fleet of KC-135 tankers has been in service since 1957, the last aircraft having been delivered in 1965. However, due to mistakes in the tanker selection process, outgoing Air Force head Michael Wynne told media that he expected the selection process to be repeated.


A330 deliveries

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.

Notable accidents and incidents
  • On 30 June 1994, an A330 owned by Airbus on a test flight simulating an engine failure on takeoff crashed shortly after take-off from Toulouse, killing all seven on board.
  • On 15 March 2000, a 6-year-old Malaysia Airlines A330-300 aircraft was severely damaged by corrosive liquids that were being transported in the cargo hold on a passenger flight from Beijing to Kuala Lumpur. The corrosive liquid oxalyl chloride was mistakenly declared as non-toxic solid hydroxyquinoline. 18 canisters of the substance were transported via Kuala Lumpur intended to transit to Chennai. Five airport workers fell ill as they were unloading baggage from the aircraft at Kuala Lumpur after some of the canisters had leaked and chemicals spilled into the aircraft's cargo hold, resulting in extensive corrosion damage to the fuselage, wing box structure and landing gear. The aircraft was subsequently declared written-off. On 12 June 2007, a court in Beijing ordered China National Chemical Construction Corp, the owner of the cargo, to pay US$65 million to Malaysia Airlines for the loss.

Planform view of a Cyprus Airways A330-200 taking off. The undercarriage has fully retracted.
Planform view of a Cyprus Airways A330-200 taking off. The undercarriage has fully retracted.


LTU Airbus A330-200 touching down at Düsseldorf International Airport.
LTU Airbus A330-200 touching down at Düsseldorf International Airport.
Aircraft dimensions A330-200 A330-300 A330-200F
Overall length 58.8 m (192 ft 11 in) 63.6 m (208 ft 10 in) 58.8 m (192 ft 11 in)
Height (to top of horizontal tail) 17.40 m (57 ft 1 in) 16.85 m (55 ft 3 in) 16.9 m (55 ft 5 in)
Fuselage diameter 5.64 m (18 ft 6 in)
Maximum cabin width 5.28 m (17 ft 4 in)
Cabin length 45.0 m (147 ft 8 in) 50.35 m (165 ft 2 in) 40.8 m (133 ft 10 in)
Wingspan (geometric) 60.3 m (197 ft 10 in)
Wing area (reference) 361.6 m² (3,892 sq ft)
Wing sweep (25% chord) 30 degrees
Wheelbase 22.2 m (72 ft 10 in) 25.6 m (84 ft) 22.2 m (72 ft 10 in)
Wheel track 10.69 m (35 ft 1 in)
Basic operating data
Engines two CF6-80E1 or PW4000 or RR Trent 700
Engine thrust range 303-320 kN
Typical passenger seating 253 (3-class)
293 (2-class)
405 (1-class)[23]
295 (3-class)
335 (2-class)
Range (w/max. passengers) 6,749 NM
(12,500 km)
5,669 NM
(10,500 km)
4,000 NM
(7,400 km)
Cruising Speed Mach 0.82 (871 km/h, 541 mph, 470 knots at 35,000 ft (10.7 km) cruise altitude)
Maximum Cruise Speed Mach 0.86 (913 km/h, 568 mph, 493 knots at 35,000 ft (10.7 km) cruise altitude)
Takeoff run at MTOW 2,220 metres (7,300 ft) 2,500 metres (8,202 ft) -
Bulk hold volume (Standard/option) 19.7 / 13.76 m³ 475 m³
Design weights
Maximum ramp weight 230.9 (233.9) t
Maximum takeoff weight 230 (233) t
Maximum landing weight 180 (182) t 185 (187) t 182 (187) t
Maximum zero fuel weight 168 (170) t 173 (175) t 173 (178) t
Maximum fuel capacity 139,100 L 97,170 L 139,100 L
Typical operating weight empty 120 t 122 (124) t 109 t
Typical volumetric payload 36.4 t 45.9 t 69 t


Model Date Engines
A330-201 2003 GE CF6-80E1A2
A330-202 1998 GE CF6-80E1A4
A330-203 2002 GE CF6-80E1A3
A330-223 1999 PW4168A
A330-243 2000 RR Trent 772B-60
A330-301 1993 GE CF6-80E1A2
A330-302 2007 GE CF6-80E1A4
A330-303 2007 GE CF6-80E1A3
A330-321 1999 PW4164
A330-322 1999 PW4168
A330-323 1999 PW4168B
A330-341 2000 RR Trent 768-60
A330-342 2000 RR Trent 772-60
A330-343 2000 RR Trent 772B-60

See also

Related development

Comparable aircraft

Related lists

External links

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Published in July 2009.

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