The Airbus A330 is a wide-body twin-engine jet airliner made by Airbus, a division of EADS. Versions of the A330 have a range of 7'400 to 13'430km (4'000 to 13'430nmi) and can accommodate up to 335 passengers in a two-class layout or carry 70t (150'000lb) of cargo.

The origin of the A330 dates to the 1970s as one of several conceived derivatives of Airbus's first airliner, the A300. The A330 was developed in parallel with the A340, which shared many common airframe components but differed in number of engines. Both airliners incorporated fly-by-wire flight control technology, first introduced on an Airbus aircraft with the A320, as well as the A320's six-display glass cockpit. In June 1987, after receiving orders from various customers, Airbus launched the A330 and A340. The A330 was Airbus's first airliner offered with the choice of three engines: General Electric CF6, Pratt & Whitney PW4000, and Rolls-Royce Trent 700.

The A330-300, the first variant, took its maiden flight in November 1992 and entered passenger service with Air Inter in January 1994. Responding to dwindling sales, Airbus followed up with the slightly shorter A330-200 variant in 1998, which has proved more popular. Subsequently developed A330 variants include a dedicated freighter, the A330-200F, and a military tanker, the A330 MRTT. The A330 MRTT formed the basis of the proposed KC-45, entered into the U.S. Air Force's KC-X competition in conjunction with Northrop Grumman, where after an initial win, on appeal lost to Boeing's tanker.

Since its launch, the A330 has allowed Airbus to expand market share in wide-body airliners. Airlines have selected the A330 as a replacement for less economical trijets and versus rival twinjets. Boeing has offered variants of the 767 and 777 as competitors, along with the 787, which entered service in late 2011. Airbus's A350 will also share this wide-body airliner market. As of September 2011, the A330's order book stood at 1,174, of which 812 had been delivered. The largest operator is Cathay Pacific with 33 aircraft. The A330 is expected to continue selling until at least 2015. Template:TOC limit

Development Edit

Background Edit

Airbus jetliners, 1972–1994
Model A300 A310 A320 A330 A340
B10 SA2 B9
Debut 1972 1983 1988 1994 1993
Body Wide Wide Narrow Wide Wide
Engines 2 2 2 2 4
Range Short/

Airbus's first airliner, the A300, was envisioned as part of a diverse family of commercial aircraft.[1] In pursuit of this goal, studies began in the early 1970s into derivatives of the A300.[1][2] Before introducing the A300, Airbus identified nine possible variations named A300B1 through B9.[3] A tenth variant, the A300B10, was conceived in 1973 and developed into the longer range Airbus A310.[4] Airbus then focused its efforts on single-aisle (SA) studies, conceiving of a family of airliners later known as the Airbus A320, the first commercial aircraft with digital fly-by-wire controls. During the SA studies Airbus turned its focus back to the wide-body aircraft market, simultaneously working on both projects.[4]

In the mid-1970s Airbus began development of the A300B9, a larger derivative of the A300, which would eventually become the A330. The B9 was essentially a lengthened A300 with the same wing, coupled with the most powerful turbofan engines available. It was targeted at the growing demand for high-capacity, medium-range, transcontinental trunk routes.[5] Offering the same range and payload as the McDonnell Douglas DC-10 but with 25 per cent more fuel efficiency,[5] the B9 was seen as a viable replacement for the DC-10 and the Lockheed L-1011 TriStar trijets.[6] It was also considered as a medium-ranged successor to the A300.[7]

At the same time, a 200-seat four-engine version, the B11 (which would eventually become the A340) was also under development.[8] That aircraft was originally planned to take the place of narrow-body Boeing 707s and Douglas DC-8s then in commercial use, but would later evolve to target the long-range, wide-body trijet replacement market.[7] To differentiate from the SA series, the B9 and B11 were re-designated as the TA9 and TA11, with TA standing for "twin aisle".[8] Development costs were reduced by using the same fuselage and wing for the two aircraft, with projected savings of US$500 million. Another factor was the split preference of those within Airbus and, more importantly, those of the company's prospective customers; twinjets were favoured in North America, quad-jets desired in Asia, and operators had mixed views in Europe.[5] Airbus ultimately found that most potential customers favoured four engines due to their exemption from existing twinjet range restrictions and their ability to be ferried with one inactive engine.[9] As a result, development plans prioritised the four-engined TA11 ahead of the TA9.[9]

Design effort Edit

The first specifications for the TA9 and TA11, aircraft that could accommodate 410 passengers in a one-class layout, emerged in 1982.[10] They showed a large underfloor cargo area that could hold five cargo pallets or sixteen LD3 cargo containers in the forward, and four pallets or fourteen LD3s in the aft hold—double the capacity of the Lockheed L-1011 TriStar or DC-10, and 8.46m (27.8ft) longer than the Airbus A300.[11] By June 1985, the TA9 and TA11 had received more improvements, including the adoption of the A320 flight deck, digital fly-by-wire (FBW) control system, and side-stick control.[12] Airbus had developed a common cockpit for their aircraft models to allow quick transition by pilots. The flight crews could transition from one type to another after only one week's training, which reduces operator costs.[13] The two TAs would use the vertical stabiliser, rudder, and circular fuselage sections of the A300-600, extended by two barrel sections.[13]

Airbus briefly considered the variable camber wing, a concept that requires changing the wing profile for a given phase of flight. Studies were carried out by British Aerospace (BAe), now part of BAE Systems, at Hatfield and Bristol. Airbus estimated this would yield a two per cent improvement in aerodynamic efficiency,[14] but the feature was rejected because of cost and difficulty of development.[8] A true laminar flow wing (a low-drag shape that improves fuel efficiency) was also considered but rejected.[15]


From the beginning of the TA9's development, a choice of engines from the three major engine manufacturers, Rolls-Royce, Pratt & Whitney, and GE Aviation, was planned.[17] GE Aviation first offered the General Electric CF6-80C2. However, later studies indicated that more thrust was needed to increase the initial power capability from 267 to 289kN (60'000 to 65'000lbf).[18] GE enlarged the CF6-80C2 fan from 236 to 244cm|in|sigfig=2}} to create the CF6-80E1, giving a new thrust output of 300-320kN (60'000-65'000lbf).[19] Rolls-Royce initially wanted to use the 267kN (60'000lbf) Trent 600 to power Airbus's newest twinjet and the upcoming McDonnell Douglas MD-11. However, the company later agreed to develop an engine solely for the A330, the Trent 700, with a larger diameter and 311kN (70'000lbf) of thrust.[20] Similarly, Pratt & Whitney signed an agreement that covered the development of the A330-only PW4168. The company increased the fan size to augment power,[21] enabling the engine to deliver 311kN (70'000lbf of thrust.[22]

On 27 January 1986, the Airbus Industrie Supervisory Board held a meeting in Munich, West Germany. Afterwards, the board chairman, Franz Josef Strauß, released a statement that said, "Airbus Industrie is now in a position to finalise the detailed technical definition of the TA9, which is now officially designated the A330, and the TA11, now called the A340, with potential launch customer airlines, and to discuss with them the terms and conditions for launch commitments". The designations were originally reversed; they were switched so the quad-jet airliner would have a "4" in its name. Airbus hoped for five airlines to sign for both the A330 and A340, and on 12 May sent sale proposals to the most likely candidates, including Lufthansa and Swissair.[12]

Production and testing Edit

In preparation for production of the A330 and A340, Airbus's partners invested heavily in new facilities. In England, Filton was the site of BAe's £7 million investment in a three-storey technical centre with 15'000m2 (160'000sqft) of floor area.[23] BAe also spent £5 million adding a new production line to its Chester wing production plant.[23] In Germany, Messerschmitt-Bölkow-Blohm (MBB) invested DM 400 million ($225 million) at various manufacturing facilities in the Weser estuary, including at Bremen, Einswarden, Varel, and Hamburg.[24] France saw the biggest investments, with Aérospatiale starting construction of a new Fr.2.5 billion ($411 million) final-assembly plant adjacent to Toulouse-Blagnac Airport in Colomiers; by November 1988, the pillars for the new Clément Ader assembly hall had been erected.[25] The assembly process would feature increased automation, such as robots drilling holes and installing fasteners during the wing-to-fuselage mating process.[26]

File:TLS factory 7413v.jpg

On 12 March 1987, Airbus received the first orders for the twinjet. The domestic French airline Air Inter placed five firm orders and fifteen options, while Thai Airways International requested eight aircraft, split evenly between firm orders and options.[27][28] Airbus announced the next day that it would formally launch the A330 and A340 programmes by mid-April 1987, with deliveries of the A340 to begin in May 1992 and A330 deliveries to start in 1993. Northwest Airlines signed a letter of intent for twenty A340s and ten A330s on 31 March.[28]

BAe eventually received £450 million of funding from the UK government, well short of the £750 million it had originally requested for the design and construction of the wings.[29] The German and French governments also provided funding. Airbus issued subcontracts to companies in Australia, Austria, Canada, China, Greece, Italy, India, Japan, South Korea, Portugal, the United States, and the former Yugoslavia.[30] With funding in place, Airbus launched the A330 and A340 programmes on 5 June 1987, just prior to the Paris Air Show.[29][31] At that time, the order book stood at 130 aircraft from ten customers, including lessor International Lease Finance Corporation (ILFC). Of the order total, forty-one were for A330s.[29] In 1989, Asian carrier Cathay Pacific joined the list of purchasers, ordering nine A330s and later increasing this number to eleven.[32]

The wing-to-fuselage mating of the first A330, the tenth airframe of the A330 and A340 line, began in mid-February 1992. This aircraft, coated with anti-corrosion paint, was rolled out on 31 March without its General Electric CF6-80E1 engines, which were installed by August. During a static test, the wing failed just below requirement, but BAe engineers later solved the problem.[33] At the Farnborough Airshow that year, Northwest deferred delivery of sixteen A330s to 1994, following the cancellation of its A340 orders.[34]

The first completed A330 was rolled out on 14 October 1992, with the maiden flight following on 2 November. Weighing 181,840kg (401'000lb), including 20,980kg (46'300lb) of test equipment,[33] the A330 became the biggest twinjet to have flown, although it was later eclipsed by the Boeing 777. The flight lasted five hours and fifteen minutes during which speed, height, and other flight configurations were tested. Ultimately Airbus intended the test flight programme to consist of six aircraft flying a total of 1,800 hours.[33] On 21 October 1993, the Airbus A330 received the European Joint Aviation Authorities (JAA) and US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) certifications simultaneously after 1,114 cumulative airborne test hours and 426 test flights. At the same time, weight tests came in favourable, showing the plane was 500kg (1'100lb) under weight.[35]

On 30 June 1994, trouble struck during certification of the Pratt & Whitney engine when an A330 crashed near Toulouse.[36] Both pilots and the five passengers died.[37] The flight was designed to test autopilot response during a one-engine-off worst-case scenario with the centre of gravity near its aft limit. The accident was investigated by an internal branch of Direction General d'Aviation, which concluded that the accident resulted from slow response and incorrect actions by the crew during the recovery.[38] This led to a revision of A330 operating procedures.[39]

Entry into service Edit

File:Cathay Pacific A330-300 B-LAE SYD 06-08.jpg

Air Inter became the first operator of the A330, putting the aircraft into service on 17 January 1994 between Orly Airport, Paris, and Marseille.[40] Deliveries to Malaysia Airlines (MAS) and Thai Airways International were postponed to address delamination of the composite materials in the PW4168 engine's thrust reverser assembly. Thai Airways received its first A330 during the second half of the year, operating it on routes from Bangkok to Taipei and Seoul.[41][42] Cathay Pacific received its Trent 700 A330s following the certification of that engine on 22 December 1994.[38] MAS received its A330 on 1 February 1995 and then rescheduled its other ten orders.[42]

Airbus intended the A330 to compete in the Extended-range Twin-engine Operation Performance Standards (ETOPS) market, specifically with the Boeing 767.[43] (ETOPS is a standard that allows longer range flights away from a diversion airport for aircraft that have met special design and testing standards.) Instead of the "ETOPS out of the box" or "Early ETOPS" approach taken by Boeing with its 777,[Nb 1] Airbus gradually increased ETOPS approval on the A330 using in-service experience. Airbus suggested that the A340 and A330 were essentially identical except for their engine number, and that the A340's experience could be applied to the A330's ETOPS approval.[44] The plans were for all three engine types to enter service with 90-minute approval, before increasing to 120 minutes after the total A330 fleet accumulated 25,000 flight hours, and then to 180 minutes after 50,000 flight hours, in 1995.[45][Nb 2] Aer Lingus and Cathay Pacific were two important airlines assisting Airbus in this endeavour by building up in-service flight hours on over-ocean flights.[46] In November 2009, the A330 became the first aircraft to receive ETOPS–240 approval, which has since been offered by Airbus as an option.[47]

Further developments Edit

In response to a decline in A330-300 sales, increased market penetration by the Boeing 767-300ER, and airline requests for increased range and smaller aircraft, Airbus developed the Airbus A330-200.[48] Known as the A329 and A330M10 during development, the A330-200 would offer nine per cent lower operating costs than the Boeing 767-300ER.[49] The plane was aimed at the 11,900 km (6,400 nmi) sector, where Airbus predicted demand for 800 aircraft between 1995 and 2015.[49] The project, with US$450 million in expected development costs, was approved by the Airbus Industrie Supervisory Board on 24 November 1995.[49]

File:Aeroflot Airbus A330 Kustov.jpg

The A330-200 first flew on 13 August 1997.[50] The sixteen-month certification process involved logging 630 hours of test flights.[50] The A330-200's first customer was ILFC; these aircraft were leased by Canada 3000, who became the type's first operator.[51]

As Airbus worked on its A330-200, hydraulic pump problems were reported by both A330 and A340 operators. This issue was the suspected cause of a fire that destroyed an Air France A340-200 in January 1994.[52] On 4 January that year, a Malaysia Airlines A330-300, while undergoing regular maintenance at Singapore Changi Airport, was consumed by a fire that started in the right-hand main undercarriage well. The incident caused US$30 million in damage, and the aircraft took six months to repair.[52][53] Consequently, operators were advised to disable electrical pumps in January 1997.[52]

Another issue was in-flight shutdowns of the Trent 700–powered A330-300s. On 11 November 1996, engine failure on a Cathay Pacific flight forced it back to Ho Chi Minh City.[54] On 17 April 1997, Cathay Pacific's affiliate Dragonair experienced an engine shutdown on an A330, caused by carbon clogging the oil filter. As a result, Cathay Pacific self-suspended its 120-minute ETOPS clearance. Another engine failure occurred on 6 May during climbout with a Cathay Pacific A330. The problem was traced to a bearing failure in the gearbox built by Hispano-Suiza. Three days later, a Cathay Pacific A330 on climbout during a Bangkok–Hong Kong flight experienced a drop in oil pressure. The resultant engine spool down forced the flight back to Bangkok. The cause was later traced to metal contamination in the engine's master chip.[55] Cathay Pacific and Dragonair voluntarily grounded their A330 fleets for two weeks[56] following a fifth engine failure on 23 May. The combined fifteen-aircraft grounding caused major disruption because Cathay's eleven A330s made up fifteen per cent of its passenger capacity. Rolls-Royce and Hispano-Suiza worked to resolve the problem, and a redesigned system for lubricating the areas involved was dispatched to airlines.[55]

File:New A330-200F Freighter on static display.jpg

Airbus next worked on an A330 freighter variant. Responding to flagging A300-600F and A310F sales, the company began marketing the Airbus A330-200F, a derivative of the A330-200, around 2001.[58] The freighter has a range of 7400km (4'000nmi) with 65t (140'000lb) on board, or 5900km (3'200nmi) with 70t (150'000lb).[59] The plane features a larger nosegear than the passenger-carrying A330. Housed in a distinctive bulbous "blister fairing", the gear emerges to raise the nose of the aircraft so that the cargo deck is level during loading.[60]

The A330-200F made its maiden flight on 5 November 2009.[61][62] This marked the start of a four-month, 180-hour certification programme. JAA and FAA certifications were expected by March the following year although approval by the JAA was delayed until April.[61][63] The first delivery was subsequently made to the Etihad Airways cargo division, Etihad Crystal Cargo, in July 2010.[64][65]

By the end of August 2011, a total of 1,155 A330s had been ordered, with 807 delivered.[66] The largest operators of the A330 are Cathay Pacific with 33 and Delta Air Lines—which had an all-Boeing fleet before getting its A330s in its merger with Northwest Airlines—with 32.[66] Airbus announced in February 2011 that it intended to raise production rates from seven-and-a-half to eight per month to nine per month in 2012, and ten per month in 2013.[67] Airbus expects the A330 to continue selling until at least 2015.[68]

Design Edit

File:Cyprus airways a330-200 5b-dbs arp.jpg

The A330 is a medium-size, wide-body airliner, with two engines suspended on pylons under the wings. On the ground, the two-wheel nose undercarriage and two four-wheel bogie main legs built by Messier-Dowty support a maximum ramp weight (MRW) of 230.9t (509'000lb), while the designed maximum takeoff weight (MTOW) is 230t (510'000lb}} on the A330-200 variant. An option allows a maximum ramp weight of 233.9t (516'000lb) with a maximum takeoff weight of 233.0t (514'000lb).[69]

The airframe of the A330 features a low-wing cantilever monoplane with a wing virtually identical to that of the A340. The wings were designed and manufactured by BAe, which developed a long slender wing with a very high aspect ratio to provide high aerodynamic efficiency.[70][Nb 3] The wing is swept back at 30 degrees and, along with other design features, allows a maximum operating Mach number of 0.86.[72][73] The wing has a very high thickness-to-chord ratio of 12.8 per cent, which means that a long span and high aspect ratio can be attained without a severe weight penalty.[74] For comparison, the rival MD-11 has a thickness-to-chord ratio of 8–9 per cent.[74] Each wing also has a 2.74 m (9.0 ft) tall winglet instead of the wingtip fences found on earlier Airbus aircraft.[75]

The shared wing design with the A340 allowed the A330 to incorporate aerodynamic features developed for the former aircraft.[76] The failure of International Aero Engines' radical ultra-high-bypass V2500 "SuperFan", which had promised around 15 per cent fuel burn reduction for the A340, led to multiple enhancements including wing upgrades to compensate.[28][77] Originally designed with a 56m (ft|abbr=on}} span, the wing was later extended to 58.6 m (192 ft) and finally to 60.3 m (198 ft).[28] At 60.3 m (198 ft), the wingspan is similar to the larger Boeing 747-200 but with 65 per cent of the wing area.[72][78]

File:Airbus A330-200 flight deck forward displays.jpg

The A330 and A340 fuselage is based on that of the Airbus A300-600, with many common parts, and has the same external and cabin width: 5.64m (18.5ft) and 5.28m (17.3ft).[78][79] Allowed seating is 2–2–2 six-abreast in first and business class, and 2–4–2 eight-abreast in economy.[80][81] The vertical stabiliser and rudder are made mostly of composite materials.[82][83] On the ground, the A330 uses the Honeywell 331–350C auxiliary power unit (APU).[84]

The A330 shares the same glass cockpit flight deck layout as the A320 and A340, featuring electronic instrument displays rather than mechanical gauges.[85] Instead of a conventional control yoke, the flight deck features side-stick controls, six main displays, and the Electronic Flight Instrument System (EFIS), which covers navigation and flight displays, as well as the Electronic Centralised Aircraft Monitor (ECAM).[81][86] Apart from the flight deck, the A330 also has the fly-by-wire system common to the A320 family, the A340, the A380, and the upcoming A350. It also features three primary and two secondary flight control systems, as well as a flight envelope limit protection system which prevents maneuvers from exceeding the aircraft's aerodynamic and structural limits.[81] Template:-

Variants Edit

A330-300 Edit

File:Usairways a330-300 n278ay arp.jpg

The A330-300, which entered service in 1993, was developed as a replacement for the A300. It is based on a stretched A300-600 fuselage 63.69m (208ft 11inches long but with new wings, stabilisers and fly-by-wire systems. The -300 carries 295 passengers in a three-class cabin layout, 335 in two-class, or 440 in a single-class layout. It has a range of 10'500km (5'700nmi). The -300 has a large cargo capacity, comparable to that of early Boeing 747s. It is powered by the choice of two General Electric CF6-80E, Pratt & Whitney PW4000, or Rolls-Royce Trent 700 engines, all of which are ETOPS-180 rated.[78]

As of September 2011, 547 -300s had been ordered, 371 of which had been delivered, with 369 remaining in operation.[66] The 2011 list price is $222.5 million.[87] The closest competitors have been the Boeing 777-200 and the now-out-of-production McDonnell Douglas MD-11.[88] Airbus is planning a two-tonne increase in maximum gross weight of the -300.[89]

A330-200 Edit

The A330-200 is a shortened, longer-range variant, which entered service in 1998. Typical range with 253 passengers in a three-class configuration is 13'400km (7'200nmi).[79] The A330-200 is ten fuselage frames shorter than the original -300, with a length of 58.82m (193ft).[79][90] To compensate for the smaller moment arm of the shorter fuselage, the vertical stabiliser height of the -200 was increased by 104cm (41in).[91] The -200's wing was also modified; structural strengthening of the wing allowed the maximum takeoff weight of the -200 to be increased to 229.8t (507'000lb).[91] The -200 is offered with three engine types similar to those found on the -300, namely the General Electric CF6-80E, Pratt & Whitney PW4000, or Rolls-Royce Trent 700.[69] Airbus also boosted fuel capacity by using the centre section 139'100L (36'700 US gallons) fuel tank, standard in the A340.[50]

As of September 2011, 566 of the -200 had been ordered, 433 of which had been delivered, with 429 aircraft still in operation.[66] The 2011 list price is $200.8 million.[87] The changes made to the -200 significantly improved the economics of the aircraft and made the variant more popular than the four-engine A340.[66] The -200 competes with the Boeing 767-300ER and to a lesser extent the 767-400ER.[90][92] The 787 Dreamliner represents future competition.[93] The A330-200 is also available as an ultra-long-range corporate jet from Airbus Executive and Private Aviation, marketed as the A330-200 Prestige.[94]

A330-200F Edit

File:The very first Airbus A330-200F.jpg

The A330-200F is an all-cargo derivative of the A330-200 capable of carrying 65t (140'000lb) over 7'400 (4'000km) or 70t (150'000lb) up to 5900km (3'200nmi).[59] To overcome the standard A330's nose-down body angle on the ground, the A330F uses a revised nose undercarriage layout to provide a level deck during cargo loading. The normal A330-200 undercarriage is used, but its attachment points are lower in the fuselage, thus requiring a distinctive blister fairing on the nose to accommodate the retracted nose gear.[95] Power is provided by two Pratt & Whitney PW4000 or Rolls-Royce Trent 700 engines. General Electric does not plan to offer an engine for the A330-200F.[96]

As of September 2011, Airbus had delivered 8 aircraft with 53 unfilled orders. The list price is $203.6 million.[87] As well as new-build freighters, Airbus has proposed passenger-to-freighter conversions of existing -200 airliners.[97] The A330-200F is sized between the 767-300F and 777F.[98][99]

A330-200HGW Edit

In 2008, Airbus released plans for a higher gross weight version of the A330-200 to more effectively compete against the Boeing 787 Dreamliner.[100] The new-build A330-200HGW had a 5 tonne increase in maximum takeoff weight, allowing a 560km (300nmi) range increase and a 3.4t (7'500lb) payload increase.[100][101] Korean Air became the first customer on 27 February 2009, ordering six -200HGWs. Deliveries of the first aircraft started in 2010.[102]

Military variants Edit

Airbus A330 MRTT Edit

File:A330-200 conversion to A330 MRTT.jpg

The Airbus A330 MRTT is the Multi-Role Transport and Tanker (MRTT) version of the A330-200, designed for aerial refuelling and strategic transport.[103] Template:As of, the A330 MRTT has been ordered by the air forces of Australia, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, and the United Kingdom.[104][105]

EADS/Northrop Grumman KC-45 Edit

The EADS/Northrop Grumman KC-45 was a proposed version of the A330 MRTT for the United States Air Force (USAF)'s KC-X aerial refuelling programme. In February 2008, the USAF selected the aircraft to replace the Boeing KC-135 Stratotanker.[106] The replacement process was mired in controversy, instances of corruption, and allegations of favouritism.[107][108] In July 2010, EADS submitted a tanker bid to the USAF without Northrop Grumman as a partner.[109][110] However, on 24 February 2011, the USAF picked the Boeing KC-767 proposal, later named KC-46, as the winner because of its lower cost.[111][112]

Undeveloped variants Edit

A330-200Lite Edit

Template:See also

To compete with Boeing's 7E7, Airbus offered a minimum-change derivative called the A330-200Lite in 2004. As the name indicated, this proposed variant would have had a lower maximum takeoff weight of 202t (450'000lb), coupled with de-rated engines, giving a range of 7'400km (4'0000nmi).[113][114] It was aimed at Singapore Airlines, who had looked to replace its Airbus A310-300s.[115][116] The variant was also to be a replacement for Airbus A300-600Rs and early Boeing 767s.[114] Airlines, however, were not satisfied with the compromised aircraft; the company instead proceeded with an entirely new aircraft, the A350 XWB.[117]

A330-300HGW Edit

In 2000, it was reported that Airbus was studying an A330-300 version with a higher gross weight. It was named A330-300HGW and had a takeoff weight of 240t (530'000lb}}, 7t (15'000lb) greater than the -300's weight. The version would have a strengthened wing and additional fuel capacity from a 41'600L (11'000 US gallons) centre section fuel tank. The A330-300HGW's range was increased to over 11'000km (5'900nmi). Among those that showed interest was leasing company ILFC, which sought airliners that could fly from the West Coast of the United States to Europe.[118]

Power was to be supplied by all three engines offered to the two other A330 passenger models. Airbus also considered using the new Engine Alliance GP7000 engine for the A330-300HGW, which would have been the engine's first twinjet application. The -300HGW was to enter airline service in 2004.[118] However, the programme was not launched, and quietly disappeared.

A330-500 Edit

Also known as the A330-100, the A330-500 was a proposed "shrink" of the A330-200 version launched in July 2000 at the Farnborough Airshow,[119][120] with eight fuselage frames removed — four ahead and four behind the wing. This would allow for the seating of 222 passengers. The -500's maximum takeoff weight was to be 228t (500'000lb), a 5t (11'000lb) decrease from the A330-200, allowing a range of 12'970km (5'900nmi). A lighter sub-variant, at 195t (430'000lb), would have flown up to 8'060km (4'350nmi).[121] The aircraft would have had 5 per cent better specific fuel consumption than the A300-600, powered by either the CF6-80G2, PW4000, or the Trent 500.[119]

Prospective customers included ILFC, CIT Aerospace, Lufthansa, and Hapag-Lloyd. The latter two, however, were unimpressed with the long-range variant, preferring a shorter-range aircraft, which was better suited to their route structure.[120] Singapore Airlines was also an expected customer because it was looking for a replacement for the A310.[119][120] Airbus intended to freeze the design in late 2001, with the first flight scheduled for the third quarter of 2003 and entry into service within a year.[121] The programme was later abandoned, as interest from customers was lacking.[122]

Operators Edit

There are 831 Airbus A330s of all types in airline service as of December 2011.[66] In July 2011 there were a total 429 A330-200s in service with various airlines, including Emirates (27), Air China (20), TAM Linhas Aereas (20), Etihad Airways (16), Qatar Airways (16), and Air France (15).[123] For the A330-300, there were 369 in service with major operators being Cathay Pacific (33), Delta Air Lines (21), Thai Airways International (20), China Airlines (20), and Korean Air (16).[123]

Orders and deliveries Edit

Orders Deliveries
Type Total Backlog Total 2012 2011 2010 2009 2008 2007 2006 2005 2004 2003 2002 2001 2000 1999 1998 1997 1996 1995 1994 1993
A330-200 572 128 444 0 40 32 38 49 42 39 29 25 19 36 16 27 40 12
A330-200F 60 51 9 0 4 5
A330-300 554 170 384 0 43 50 38 23 26 23 27 22 12 6 19 16 4 11 14 10 30 9 1
Total 1,186 349 837 0 87 87 76 72 68 62 56 47 31 42 35 43 44 23 14 10 30 9 1

Data through end of December 2011. Updated on 17 January 2012.[66]

Accidents and incidents Edit

As of June 2011, the Airbus A330 had been involved in thirteen major incidents,[124] including six confirmed hull-loss accidents[125] and two hijackings, for a total of 338 fatalities.[126] The following are notable accidents and incidents:

  • On 30 June 1994, on a test flight an A330 owned by Airbus was simulating an engine failure on climbout. The aircraft crashed shortly after takeoff from Toulouse, killing all seven on board.[127]
  • On 24 July 2001, the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam attacked Bandaranaike International Airport, Colombo, Sri Lanka. Two SriLankan Airlines A330s were destroyed among other airliners and military aircraft.[128][129]
  • On 7 October 2008, Qantas Flight 72, A330-303 (VH-QPA), suffered a rapid loss of altitude in two sudden uncommanded pitch down manoeuvres causing serious injuries while 150km (81nmi) from the Learmonth air base in northwestern Australia. After declaring an emergency, the crew landed the aircraft safely at Learmonth. Of the passengers and crew onboard, 106 people were injured with fourteen seriously.[130] It was later found out that the incident was caused by a design flaw of the plane's Air Data Inertial Reference Unit.Template:Cn
  • On 1 June 2009, Air France Flight 447, an A330-203, en route from Rio de Janeiro to Paris with 228 people on board, disappeared over the Atlantic Ocean.[131] The aircraft crashed in the Atlantic Ocean 640-800km (350-430nmi) northeast of the islands of Fernando de Noronha. All passengers and crew were killed. Malfunctioning pitot tubes provided an early focus for the investigation.[132] It was later determined that the immediate cause of the crash was the inadequate response of the pilots to these malfunctions.[133]
  • On 25 December 2009, a passenger on Northwest Airlines Flight 253, an A330-300, attempted to detonate explosives in his underwear while the flight was in the air. Passengers and crew subdued the perpetrator, Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab.[134][135]
  • On 12 May 2010, Afriqiyah Airways Flight 771, an A330-202, crashed on approach to Tripoli International Airport, Libya, on a flight from OR Tambo International Airport, Johannesburg, South Africa. All but one of the 104 people on board were killed. The sole survivor was a nine-year-old Dutch boy.[136]

Specifications Edit

A330-200 A330-200F A330-300
Cockpit crew Two
Seating capacity,
253 (3-class)
293 (2-class)
380 (maximum)
n/a 295 (3-class)
335 (2-class)
440 (maximum)
Length 58.82 m (193 ft 0 in) 63.69 m (208 ft 11 in)
Wingspan 60.3 m (197 ft 10 in)
Wing area 361.6 m2 (3,892 sq ft)
Wing sweepback 30°
Tail height 17.39 m (57 ft 1 in) 16.90 m (55 ft 5 in) 16.83 m (55 ft 3 in)
Cabin width 5.28 m (17 ft 4 in)
Fuselage width 5.64 m (18 ft 6 in)
Cargo capacity 136 m3 (4,800 cu ft) 475 m3 (16,800 cu ft)
70 t / up to 12 couriers[98]
162.8 m3 (5,750 cu ft)
Operating empty weight
119,600 kg (264,000 lb) 109,000 kg (240,000 lb) 124,500 kg (274,000 lb)
Maximum Takeoff Weight
233,000 kg (510,000 lb)
to 238,000 kg (520,000 lb)
227,000 kg (500,000 lb)
to 233,000 kg (510,000 lb)
230,000 kg (510,000 lb)
to 235,000 kg (520,000 lb)
Maximum Landing Weight 180,000 kg (396,900 lb) 185,000 kg (407,925 lb)
Cruising speed Mach 0.82 (871 km/h/537 mph at 11,000 m/36,000 ft)
Maximum operating speed Mach 0.86 (913 km/h/563 mph at 11,000 m/36,000 ft)
Maximum range, fully loaded 13,430 km (7,250 nmi) 7,400 km (4,000 nmi) 10,830 km (5,850 nmi)
Takeoff distance at MTOW 2,220 m (7,280 ft) n/a 2,500 m (8,200 ft)
Maximum fuel capacity 139,090 L (36,740 US gal) 97,530 L (25,760 US gal)
Service ceiling 12,527 m (41,100 ft)
Engines (×2)
(see below)
General Electric CF6-80E1
Pratt & Whitney PW4000
Rolls-Royce Trent 700
Pratt & Whitney PW4000
Rolls-Royce Trent 700
General Electric CF6-80E1
Pratt & Whitney PW4000
Rolls-Royce Trent 700
Thrust (×2) PW: 70,000 lbf (311 kN)
RR: 71,100 lbf (316 kN)
GE: 72,000 lbf (320 kN)
PW: 70,000 lbf (311 kN)
RR: 71,100 lbf (316 kN)
PW: 70,000 lbf (311 kN)
RR: 71,100 lbf (316 kN)
GE: 72,000 lbf (320 kN)

Sources: Airbus,[69][73][78][79][137][138] Pratt & Whitney,[22] EASA,[139] FAA,[140] The International Directory of Civil Aircraft[121]

References Edit

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Further reading Edit



External links Edit



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