In just one full year of commercial service, Airbus’ A330-200F has rapidly established itself as a highly efficient and profitable cargo lift solution for a growing global customer base – more than living up to its billing as “the right aircraft, right now.”
Since entering commercial service with Etihad Airways’ dedicated Crystal Cargo operation last September, the A330-200F has achieved an impressive reliability rate of more than 99.4 per cent – while flying over 10 hours daily on short- to long-haul missions around the world.
A total of seven freighters were in operation as of 31 August, with A330-200Fs in the fleets of Etihad Crystal Cargo, Turkish Airlines and Hong Kong Airlines. Earlier this month, MASkargo received its initial A330-200F aircraft – allowing this freight subsidiary of Malaysia Airlines to serve more markets with greater frequency and reduced operating costs. To date, a total of 61 firm orders have been booked for the new-generation freighter by 10 customers.
Based on Airbus’ popular A330-200 passenger aircraft, the A330-200F offers better payload, range and economics than previous-generation freighters in its class. In addition, it provides the full benefits of operational commonality with Airbus’ fly-by-wire family of single-aisle and widebody jetliners.
One of the A330-200F's most distinguishing features is its large main-deck cargo door, which allows the Airbus freighter to accept all commonly-used pallets and containers – enabling the transport of high-value consumer goods, higher-density general cargo, express packages and parcels, as well as perishables. The 141 X 101-inch door – derived from the proven cargo door on A300/A310 freighters – is electrically-controlled and hydraulically-operated.
“We believe the Airbus [A330-200F] freighter is a great long-term investment,” said Ron Wainshal, CEO of Aircastle, which purchased three freighters for leasing to Hong Kong Airlines. “The A330-200F’s extended payload range and low operating costs make it the best aircraft in its class.”
The freighter’s outstanding value to its operators was further underscored in March 2011 by a repeat order from Turkish Airlines that included three additional A330-200Fs. According to Turkish Airlines CEO Dr. Temel Kotil, the aircraft’s outstanding flexibility and efficiency in operational service made the follow-on order a “logical choice” for the carrier’s growth.