As part of the focus on continuous improvement for its jetliner product line, Airbus is moving forward with development of the new A330 Regional – a lower-weight A330-300 variant for use on domestic and regional routes in high growth areas that include the Asia-Pacific market.
The aircraft – which was unveiled in 2013 – will be optimised to seat up to some 400 passengers in a 2-class configuration on missions up to 3,200 nm, as well as deliver cost savings through a reduced operational weight of around 200 tonnes and reduced thrust engines. The reduction in fuel burn per seat and maintenance costs thanks to these innovations will result in an overall seat-mile cost reduction of 25 per cent compared with today’s long-range A330-300 variants.
“If you look at the top markets in terms of growth over the next 20 years, you see a great number of them are regional markets,” said A330 Marketing Director Jean Ladoues, who added that the Regional variant is being specifically tailored to meet the requirements of such short-haul operations.
Since the Regional version’s announcement, Airbus has been coordinating with engine manufacturers to deliver further maintenance cost reductions in order to meet optimal levels for regional services.
Airbus’ development of the latest A330 version builds on this jetliner’s already successful deployment on short/medium-range routes around the world, including in China – where A330s already operate a significant number of domestic services.
Ladoues added the A330 Regional has been greeted with enthusiasm by customers since its launch, and that the variant’s certification is a key priority for Airbus in 2014, enabling an early 2015 service entry.