The A330 maintained its popularity with airline customers and lessors around the world, highlighted by Airbus’ milestone 1,000th delivery of an A330 Family aircraft, which was accepted by Cathay Pacific Airways in July.
The popularity of this wide-body family also was reflected in Airbus’ new record output of 10 per month, which was reached earlier in 2013.
Current production includes the A330-200 and A330-300 passenger versions, the A330-200F freighter, and the military Multi Role Tanker Transport – which is based on the A330-200 airframe, equipped for aerial refueling missions along with troop and cargo airlift.
As of the 1,000th delivery in July, the aircraft type already had carried some 1.2 billion passengers during its operational career, with a takeoff or landing performed by the twin-engine jetliner somewhere in the world every 23 seconds.
In new business transactions, the A330-200F received an important vote of confidence from Qatar Airways, which placed a firm order for five more freighters. Announced at the 2013 Dubai Airshow in November, these additional aircraft will join the Gulf carrier’s three A330-200Fs already in service – and positions the Airbus mid-sized freighter to become the backbone of Qatar Airways’ cargo fleet.
A month later, Air Asia X signed for an additional 25 A330-300s to bolster its fleet, marking the largest A330 Family order received by Airbus in a single purchase agreement.
Airbus is keeping the A330 family of aircraft highly competitive by investing in its continual evolution. During the 2003-2013 timeframe, Airbus committed one euro to improve the programme for every euro originally spent developing it, ensuring the latest technology is on board the A330. This ongoing “success story” is further bolstered by the increased 242 metric tonne maximum takeoff weight variant – launched by the company in 2012 – which will extend the jetliners’ range by some 50 per cent when compared to its original service entry.