|Computer rendered image of the upcoming Airbus A330-900neo|
|Role||Wide-body jet airliner|
|First flight||19 October 2017|
|Introduction||Expected summer 2018|
|Number built||2 prototypes|
|Program cost||$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 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 use exclusively 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 around 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”.
AirAsiaX 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%.
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.
Its development costs will have an impact of around -0.7% on Airbus Return on Sales target from 2015 to 2017, an estimated Bn $2 billion (1.18 billion pounds). 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.
Airbus believes the A330neo derives much of its market advantage from being a less expensive widebody positioned to serve high density routes shorter than 4,000 nautical miles that otherwise would be served by aircraft primarily designed for routes of 8,000 miles. Ed Greenslet, editor of Airline Monitor, told Aviation Week that the A330neo could create a monopoly in that segment, because the Boeing 767 is "essentially out of production" and the only other aircraft suited for it is the Boeing 757; the largest Boeing 737 does not have the passenger capacity to compete effectively. A major upgrade program for the A330 could also cause problems for Airbus. The re-engined A330 would be launched into a twin-aisle market already crowded by the Boeing 787, 777X, and Airbus A350, and could take sales from other Airbus aircraft.[verify]
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.
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.
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.
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 expects its first A330neo 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; final assembly will start by the end of the year for a first flight in 2018.
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 4h15 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 600h and is to be joined next month by the second, MSN1813, which will fly 500h, before the third, MSN1819, the first customer aircraft for TAP Portugal with a complete cabin.
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).
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. Since the 2004 launch of the dreamliner, the market was split almost equally between both aircraft, with 900-920 A330s sold against 950 to 1,000 787-8/9s. 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.
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. After the Airshow, Hawaiian Airlines committed for six Airbus A330-800neos, with additional purchase rights for six more A330-800neos, replacing the airline's previous order for 12 (six firm, six purchase rights) A350-800 aircraft.
On 19 November, Delta Air Lines became the launch customer for the Airbus A330-900neo, ordering 25 A330-900neo aircraft. On 3 December, CIT Group firmed up their order for 15 A330-900neo aircraft. On 15 December, AirAsia X announced a firm order for 55 Airbus A330-900neo aircraft, five more than the original 50 aircraft committed, the largest single order to date for the A330 family.
On 18 December, Hawaiian Airlines finalized their order for 6 A330-800neo aircraft. On 23 December Avolon firmed its order for 15 A330neo aircraft. On 24 December 2014, Taiwanese carrier Transasia Airways revealed themselves as the unknown customer, announcing a firm order for four Airbus A330-800neos.
On 18 February, Israeli airline Arkia Israel Airlines committed to the purchase of four Airbus A330-900neo aircraft. On 9 March, Air Lease Corporation firmed up its order for 25 Airbus A330-900neo jets. On 13 November, TAP Air Portugal ordered 14 A330-900neo. It was later confirmed as the launch operator of the A330neo.
On 12 January, AirAsia X switched its order for 11 Airbus A330-300 to -900neos, reaching a total of 66 A330neo orders. These orders are spread out over nearly a decade and as AirAsia X had some financial difficulties it had to defer some aircraft deliveries.
An undisclosed customer ordered 14 Airbus A330-900neo aircraft at the January Singapore Airshow. Later, Garuda Indonesia was revealed to be the undisclosed customer and firmed its order 19 April. On 22 November 2016, Transasia Airways announced that it would cease operations, thus unable to take the four Airbus A330-800neos it had on order. In January 2016, Iranian officials signed an agreement with Airbus for 18 A330-900neo. In December 2016, Iran Air Sign a firm order including 28 A330-900neo.
At the end of 2016, the combined A330neo and A330ceo backlog is 363 aircraft. At a delivery rate of 66 aircraft per year, this represent a production of 5.5 years, or 3.24 years for the 214 A330neo.
After the 19 Oct 2017 first flight, the only A330-800neo customer, Hawaiian Airlines, considers 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).
|Date of initial
|19 Nov 2014||United States||Delta Air Lines[a]||—||25||25|
|3 Dec 2014||United States||CIT Group||—||15||15|
|15 Dec 2014||Malaysia||AirAsia X||—||66||66|
|18 Dec 2014||United States||Hawaiian Airlines||6||—||6|
|23 Dec 2014||Ireland||Avolon||—||15||15|
|9 Mar 2015||United States||Air Lease Corporation||—||25||25|
|13 Nov 2015||Portugal||TAP Portugal[b]||—||14||14|
|19 Apr 2016||Indonesia||Garuda Indonesia||—||14||14|
|11 Jun 2016||Israel||Arkia Israeli Airlines||—||2||2|
|22 Dec 2016||Iran||Iran Air||—||28||28|
|11 Oct 2017||New-Caledonia (France)||Aircalin||—||2||2|
Cumulative A330neo orders and deliveries
|Seat width||8-abreast economy: 18 in (46 cm)|
|Cabin width||5.26 m (17.3 ft)|
|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)|
|MLW||186 t (410,000 lb)||191 t (421,000 lb)|
|MZFW||176 t (388,000 lb)||181 t (399,000 lb)|
|Fuel capacity||139,090 l (36,740 US gal)|
|Maximum speed||Mach 0.86 (496 kn; 918 km/h)|
|Range||8,200 nmi (15,190 km)[c]||7,250 nmi (13,430 km)[d]|
|Engine (×2)||Rolls-Royce Trent 7000|
|Thrust (×2)||300–320 kN (67,000–72,000 lbf)|
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