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Paving Way for the Future
While quite a detail has been covered for the A330neo previously, it is time to take a look at the different variants of A330neo. The two commercial variants of the A330neo are the 900 and 800 series. We will take an individual look at both of them. Although, the A330neo couldn’t fare much as expected Airbus still has a positive view about its success in the future. The aircraft is not too older than other aircraft of similar configuration. While some of the operators have inducted it into their fleet and are ordering for more. Some operators are still skeptical about it and reviewing its performance. Time will decide as the aircraft is yet to make its mark in the global aviation industry.
Read more:- Airbus A330 Leading Operators in the World
Primarily, the A330-900 is the extension of the A330-300 variant of the A330. It is a redesigned variant of the A330 wide-body jet airliner. Derived from the A330 family, the A330neo has more than 95% spares similar to the existing A330 commercial jets. The longer fuselage of the A330-900neo provides seating for up to 440 passengers. Under normal conditions, the aircraft can accommodate between 260 and 300 seats in a typical three-class layout.
New Design Features
Some of the changes in both series of A330neo include a Rolls-Royce Trent 7000 Turbofan engine with a large fan with a bypass ratio of 10;1. In addition, there are also aerodynamic changes that have brought improvement to the performance of the aircraft. It has inherited the new composite Sharklet wingtip devices from Airbus A350. The winglet has increased lift and reduced drag. The wing length has also increased which has augmented the lift variable. The A330-900 neo is a more efficient aircraft that will generate savings through reduced fuel burn (almost 14% reduction). The A330-900neo can travel up to 6550 nmi (12,130 km) with almost 300 passengers on board.
The interior cabins of the A330neo have been revamped to improve the ambiance for the passengers. The cabin of A330-900neo features up to ten additional 18in-wide seats in the economy class. Similarly, the seats on the A330neo are wider than the 16.9in seats of the 787 aircraft. Passengers are provided with advanced features such as fourth-generation in-flight entertainment. The aircraft also offers LED mood lighting and Wi-Fi connectivity.
Being the first company in the world to operate the Airbus A330neo, TAP Air Portugal has the largest fleet of A330-900. The airline is looking forward to inducting more NEOs in the future. Currently, there are 56 A330-900neo in service around the world. Moreover, TAP Air Portugal has a fleet of 19 A330neo at the moment. Delta Airlines has the second largest fleet of A330-900neo with 9 aircraft in its fleet.
A330 – 800neo
The A330-800 received its EASA type certification on 13 February 2020. So, basically this variant of A330neo actually came two years after the A330-900neo.
The fuselage of A330-800neo is derived from the frame of A330-200. A smaller frame than the 900 series. The same difference exists between the frames of A330-300 and A330-200. As the variant shares 99% commonality, therefore, developing the smaller A330-800 bore the negligible extra cost. The 800 series has a range of 8,150 nmi (15,090 km) with almost 260 passengers on board. It can otherwise accommodate between 220-260 passengers on board.
New Design Features
No wonder, Airbus has done really hard work in improving the cabin interiors. The cabins speak of their ambiance and comfort for the passengers. Due to its wider 18 inches seat, it has six more extra seats as compared to the A330-200. The remaining engine and aerodynamics of the aircraft are the same as the A330-900neo. However, the capacity and range are the price difference between the 900 and 800 series.
On 29 October 2020, the first two A330-800s were delivered to Kuwait Airways. The airline has six more -800s on order. Uganda Airlines received their first A330-800 on 21 December 2020,
The current market share of A330-900neo is quite better than the A330-800neo. The statistical figures show an optimistic future for the A330-900neo. There are still very few buyers interested in the market of A330-800neo.
The green bar shows the aircraft delivered to the operators. As mentioned earlier. 56 of the 60 are the A330-900neo and the remaining 4 are the A330-800neo. The blue bar shows the pending deliveries of the A330neo series. Out of the 331 pending deliveries, 316 belong to A330-900neo, and the remaining 15 belong to A330-800neo.
By looking at these statistics, it can be inferred that A330-800 is quite lagging as compared to its peer A330-900. Unfortunately, the variant also came at a time when the airline industry’s financial situation is dwindling. Moreover, no airline wants to invest at this stage when financial stakes are too high. The airlines are either sending their aircraft to storage or liquidating to the point of bankruptcy. Airbus is, however, hopeful to reap the returns as soon as normal travel resumes after the vaccination jabs of the majority of the air travelers.
Written by guest writer, Faisal Bashir