The final assembly of Airbus’ first A330 with the new 242 tonne maximum take-off-weight (MTOW) capability is underway at the A330 Final Assembly Line in Toulouse, France. The aircraft is currently completing its structural assembly before the cabin integration phase and will be used for certification flight trials. A second aircraft is being assembled in parallel which is destined for entry in service in Q2 2015 with launch customer for the new weight variant, Delta Air Lines.
Patrick Piedrafita, Airbus’ Head of the A330 Programme said: “I am very proud to see the first 242 tonne A330 at the final assembly stage only two years after launch. This newest, enhanced variant of our popular A330 Family is the basis for the future A330neo and is a concrete example of Airbus’ incremental innovation strategy in action.” He added: “Airlines operating the new 242 tonne A330 will be able to carry additional payload on longer routes, while at the same time enjoying a very high operational reliability of 99.4 percent.”
Thanks to an aerodynamic package reducing aircraft drag and the latest engine improvements, the 242 tonne MTOW offers an extended range of up to 500 nautical miles and up to two percent reduced fuel consumption. The 242 tonne A330-300 is capable of flying missions up to 13 hours and 15 hours for the 242 tonne A330-200. So far, nine customers worldwide have already selected this option since the launch in November 2012.
The A330 Family includes Freighter, VIP, and Military Transport/Tanker variants, has now attracted more than 1,300 orders. Over 1,100 A330 Family aircraft are flying with more than 100 operators worldwide. The A330 is one of the world’s most efficient aircraft with best in class operating economics. With numerous on-going product enhancements entering service in the coming years, the A330 Family remains the most cost-efficient and capable widebody aircraft, averaging operational reliability above 99 percent. These enhancements include the more capable 242 tonne take-off-weight variant (available for both the A330-200 and the A330-300), the A330 optimised for regional and domestic routes and the A330neo, The A330 belongs to the successful Airbus Widebody aircraft Family, which comprises the A330, A350 XWB and A380, and uniquely spans the 250 to over 500 seats segment.