Underscoring the company’s philosophy for incremental innovation across its product line in order to meet ever-changing market needs, Airbus marked a key programme milestone with European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) certification of the first 242-tonne maximum take-off weight A330-300 variant.
As Airbus’ latest evolution to the twin-engine A330 Family, the increased take-off weight A330-300 and A330-200 jetliners incorporate a new aerodynamic package, engine improvements and optional centre fuel tank activation for the A330-300 version – upgrades which offer more capability at a lower operating cost and also serve as the development platform for the A330neo (new engine option).
The increased take-off weight A330-300 variant delivers an extended range of up to 6,100 nautical miles for operators with the new centre fuel tank configuration, while offering up to 2 percent reduction in fuel consumption. In operational terms, this means Airbus’ 242-tonne A330-300 can fly routes connecting Europe and Southeast Asia; while serving over 90 percent of long-haul traffic from London.
The EASA airworthiness approval covers the increased take-off weight A330-300 powered by GE CF6-80E1 engines – with this variant’s subsequent certification by the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) expected to follow soon. The GE-powered A330-300 variant’s certification culminates Airbus’ successful flight test campaign that included approximately 100 total flight hours performed by an in-house development A330 jetliner to validate the new aerodynamic package, and a production aircraft to confirm the centre tank configuration and overall A330-300 performance.
In the coming months, Airbus also is planning to certify the remaining increased take-off weight A330-300 and A330-200 variants for the jetliners’ other engine choices: the Rolls-Royce Trent 700 and Pratt & Whitney’s PW4000.
U.S.-based launch customer Delta Air Lines is scheduled to take delivery of the initial increased take-off weight A330 variant later this year – as the first of 11 worldwide customers who have ordered this option since its launch in 2012. Delta Air Lines selected the GE-powered version for its 242-tonne maximum take-off weight A330-300.
The incremental innovations incorporated on Airbus’ 242-tonne A330 variant represent a key step on the path toward the A330neo (new engine option), which was launched in 2014. Benefitting from additional aerodynamic improvements and its use of new Rolls-Royce Trent 7000 engines, the A330neo will offer unmatched operating economics, while also featuring the latest cabin interior innovations.