The A330 continues to demonstrate its capabilities as the “right aircraft, right now” in passenger operations for a growing airline customer base, while its freighter version is being readied for service introduction as the world’s most modern mid-size, long-haul cargo aircraft.
With nearly 700 A330s delivered to date, this twin-engine jetliner takes off every 62 seconds somewhere around the globe – flying with more than 80 operators worldwide and serving 300-plus airports. Its continued popularity is underscored by an expanding customer base, as some 25 new operators have been added since 2005.
The twin-engine A330 is one of the most widely-used widebody aircraft in service today, with more than 1,000 orders booked for the aircraft’s various versions.
Its capabilities as one of the airline industry’s most economical and fuel efficient jetliner are being further improved by Airbus. The 5-tonne increase in maximum takeoff weight introduced this year enhances the A330’s range by 350 nautical miles, while the expansion of Extended-range Twin-engine Operation Performance Standards (ETOPS) to 240 minutes further augments the aircraft’s routing opportunities.
In addition to its operational enhancements, the on-board experience for passengers also is evolving through airlines’ introduction of third-generation in-flight entertainment and communications systems. One recent milestone was Oman Air’s debut of both onboard mobile telephone and wireless Internet on its A330-300s – a world’s first that uses services by OnAir, a company owned by Airbus and SITA.
Deliveries of the new A330-200F freighter version will begin this summer, providing operators with a modern aircraft that brings profitability, reliability, versatility and eco-efficiency to the mid-size air cargo marketplace.
With a payload of 70 tonnes and a range of up to 4,000 nautical miles, the A330-200F is sized as the replacement for ageing mid-capacity long-haul freighters, and also offers opportunities to grow frequencies in under-served markets at no additional cost per tonne. In addition, the A330-200F provides airlines with a highly efficient solution in replacing services of passenger and cargo “combi” aircraft with a dedicated all-cargo solution.
The A330 also is being readied for its new career as a military airlifter and aerial refuelling aircraft. The A330 Multi Role Tanker Transport (MRTT) has been ordered by Australia, the U.K., Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, with the first deliveries planned later this year to the Royal Australian Air Force.