A330-200F: Allowing freight operators to adapt to evolving markets
The new dedicated Freighter variant of the successful A330 Family took to the skies today during a four hour maiden flight over Toulouse. This milestone marks the start of a 180 hour flight-test and certification campaign, and paves the way for first delivery of the type to launch operator, Etihad Crystal Cargo, in the summer of 2010.
The new A330-200F will offer freight customers greater range and a higher maximum payload with much lower unit costs compared with its closest competitor. The aircraft has already gained 67 firm orders with nine customers. In addition to these orders, the aircraft has been selected by a tenth customer - Turkish Airlines - following the recent signing of a memorandum of understanding (MoU) for two A330-200Fs. Furthermore, there are other ongoing campaigns in progress where airlines are showing serious interest in the aircraft.
Airbus Chief Operating Officer - Customers, John Leahy said: "The efficient A330-200F is very well adapted to today?s market dynamics of rising fuel prices and increased pressure on yields." He adds: "The A330-200F is the right aircraft at the right time. We are at the eve of a market recovery, and now is the time for airlines to prepare for future freight growth."
Airbus sees the need for over 3,400 freighters in the next 20 years to cater for a 5.2% average annual growth rate. In turn, this will require around 1,600 mid-sized freighters, of which the A330-200F will play an important role.
With a greater payload than initially anticipated, the A330-200F offers two operational configurations depending on the planned mission. The aircraft can carry more than 64 metric tonnes over 4,000 nautical miles / 7,400km, or more than 69 metric tonnes up to 3,200 nautical miles / 5,930km - non-stop. These range and payload capabilities will enable operators to grow their business by opening up or extending cargo routes they currently operate. Thanks to an optimized fuselage cross-section, it has the interior flexibility to carry a wide variety of pallet and container sizes for maximum interlining capability, offering 30 per cent more volume than any freighter in its class.
Compared with the highly successful passenger A330-200, this new purpose-designed Freighter version has an increased maximum-zero-fuel weight (MZFW), by eight additional tonnes, to allow for high-density cargo configuration transportation of 10lb/ft3. In addition, the aircraft features a reinforced fuselage plus new strengthened floor with a specially designed floor-grid for higher running loads.
The A330-200F is based on the proven, highly successful and technologically-advanced A330 platform, for which Airbus has received over 1,000 orders, and to date around 625 aircraft are in operational service.