Extending the A330’s market leadership with more payload and range

9 July 2012 Feature story

Improvements to the twin-engine A330 – including integration of technology developed for Airbus’ new A350 – will further expand the operating range and payload capability of this long-popular jetliner by boosting its maximum takeoff weight to 240 metric tonnes.

Formal launch of the increased-range A330 was announced at the Farnborough Airshow today by John Leahy, Airbus Chief Operating Officer – Customers, who said this decision offers a highly economical aircraft with “more payload and more range to open more markets.”

Airbus initially will apply the maximum takeoff weight increase to its longer-fuselage A330-300, which is targeted to enter service in the summer of 2015, followed by the shorter A330-200 and the A330-200F freighter.

Among the updates incorporated in these new A330 variants are two technologies from the A350 programme: reshaping of the wing’s inboard Slat #1; and a shortening of the wing flap fairings – both of which provide improved aerodynamics.  Wing slats are deployable surfaces on the leading edge of an aircraft’s wing, while the canoe-shaped flap track fairings protect and streamline the operating mechanisms for trailing-edge wing flap surfaces.

Also to be introduced on the longer-range A330 will be a load alleviation function – in which the wing’s ailerons are deployed during gust and turbulence conditions in-flight for span-wise load distribution on the wing, enabling the takeoff weight to be increased.

Leahy noted the A330’s latest maximum takeoff weight increase responds to airline demand for additional range with this twin-aisle jetliner, while further enhancing its revenue generation.  

Using flight distances from London as an example, Leahy said the 5,950-nautical-mile range with an A330-300 operating at the 240 metric tonne  maximum takeoff weight will make non-stop flights a reality to the U.S. west coast and Mexico, as well as to such destinations as Tokyo and Hong Kong. 

Overall, Airbus has booked 1,193 firm orders for the A330.  With the 887 deliveries made to date, the company has a backlog of 306 aircraft – supporting sustained production of this jetliner.

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