Yesterday Airbus offered some updates to its A330neo program. The outcome is that Airbus claims the A330-800 is now the longest range aircraft seating between 250-300. But it has no orders. This last item leaves many scratching their heads.
It would be useful to remember that the A330 has been Airbus’ ace in the hole. This program has delivered orders year after year. And Airbus has managed to improve its performance time after time. This latest variant, the A330neo, fairly leaps ahead of the A330ceo. Lessons from the A350 have been applied to the wing providing remarkable improvements. In addition, the new engines are a generation improved as well.
Airbus produced this chart that helps to offer some perspective.
A key item here is to look at when the 787 emerged. It looked like the 787 was going to outclass the A330 as it did the 767. But then came the 787 fumbles. Customers moved to the A330 and orders jumped for the A330. While the 787 has made a successful comeback, and the 787-9 model shows particular promise, the A330 has kept on winning orders. The A330neo shows promise. Of course, that interest to date has been in the A330-900. The A330-800 is struggling to gain traction.
However, it would be prudent not to dismiss the A330 as dated. Airbus has managed to keep the aircraft current time and again. The A330 platform has proven to be remarkably effective. Don’t diss the A330.