Airbus unveils A330 Family enhancements

At the Farnborough Airshow in England today, Airbus unveiled its medium-range widebody A330 Family enhancements. The A330neo program consists of two versions – the A330-800neo and A330-900neo. The European aeronautics company announced orders for its new aircraft from Los Angeles-based ALC and the Dutch company AerCap, both lessors.

The two versions incorporate new Rolls-Royce Trent 7000 engines, have superior aerodynamics as well as the latest in the company’s cabin technology, Airbus explained.

The A330-800neo has the same fuselage length as the A330-200, while the A330-900neo utilizes the longer fuselage of the A330-300.

Airbus is dropping the A350, the smallest of the three versions – a variant with disappointing sales.

Fuel-burn improvement

Fabrice Brégier, Airbus President and Chief Executive Officer, said:

“We worked out a solution that keeps the maturity, keeps the simplicity, keeps all that the customers like about the A330 Family – and on top improves the fuel-burn per seat by 14 per cent.”

Mr. Brégier added that his company expects to sell 1,000 A330neo airplanes.

As well as fuel-burn reduction, the A330neo has a 400 nautical mile longer range, along with lower maintenance costs compared to the A330 versions that are currently being produced.

The A330-900neo’s cabin has a capacity for up to 10 more seats or 310 passengers, while six seats can be added to the A330-800neo version giving it a capacity of 252 travelers, without losing the 18-inch wide seat comfort standard in coach class.

The A330neo shares over 95% spares commonality with the current A330 aircraft, Mr. Brégier said.

The A330neo has new A350 XWB style winglets and a 3.7-meter wider wingspan “which still meets Category E airport requirement,” Airbus added. It has new engine pylons which give it a 4% superior aerodynamic performance. In the cabins there is full-LED lighting and WiFi connectivity.

John Leahy, Airbus’ Chief Operating Officer, said:

“The A330 jetliner family offers a very, very solid base to build on. These are people who love the A330, are making a lot of money with A330 and have their pilots trained with the A330, but would like to have more fuel efficiency – that’s exactly what we are doing with this aircraft.”

Boeing not impressed

An upgraded A330 with better fuel economy will intensify the fierce competition between Airbus and Boeing in the long-haul segment which the Chicago-based planemaker currently dominates.

Boeing’s carbon-fiber Dreamliner 787’s central sales point has been efficiency. It criticized Airbus for deciding to refresh an old airplane rather than focusing on a new jet family.

Randy Tinseth, Boeing’s Marketing Vice President, said:

“Their A350 strategy has failed – they’re really down to one successful model. If they didn’t make this choice, they’d be headed for a 30 to 35 percent share in the 200- to 400-seat market.”

Airbus announces major orders at Farnborough

ALC orders 25 A330-900neo aircraft

Los Angeles-based ALC (Air Lease Corporation) announced an MoU (Memorandum of Understanding) for 25 A330-900neo jetliners, “becoming the first launch customer for the new Airbus Widebody,” according to Airbus.

ALC also placed a firm order for 60 A321neo airplanes. The contract was signed on July 14th by Mr. Brégier and Steven F. Udvar-Házy, ALC’s Chairman and Chief Executive Officer.

ALC announcing purchase of aircraft

ALC announces first commitment for A330neo.

Mr. Udvar-Házy said:

“The recently launched A330neo is a well-suited addition to ALC’s fleet as we continue to provide our customers with the most modern, fuel efficient aircraft on the market. The A330neo, like the A320neo Family, will have success in the medium range segment due to its combination of high reliability, exceptional comfort and low operating costs.”

“We see a significant market opportunity for the A330neo and we’re pleased that the first order bears ALC’s name. The A321neo credentials, such as its lower fuel-burn, high reliability and wider, more comfortable cabin, also fit well in our product portfolio of innovative, profitable aircraft.”

ALC has so far ordered 225 Airbus aircraft, of which two hundred are firm orders. ALC has not yet announced which engines it will select for the A321neo aircraft.

AerCap orders 50 more A320neos

Amsterdam-based AerCap, a leading lessor (leasing company), firmed up an order for an additional fifty A320neo Family aircraft.

It is AerCap’s first large aircraft order after acquiring ILFC earlier this year. The company has not yet announced which engine it will select.

AerCap’s has so far ordered 200 A320neo aircraft, while its total orders of Airbus airplanes stands at 945.

Following its takeover of ILFC, AerCap is today Airbus’ largest customer, both in the total number and value of aircraft purchased.

Aengus Kelly, AerCap’s CEO, said:

“The A320neo family is proving to be enormously successful. AerCap has already placed 48 A320neo aircraft under lease agreement or letter of intent, so our decision to firm up for 50 additional A320neo Family aircraft is a natural extension of our fleet strategy.”

Airbus is headquartered in Toulouse, France, and employs about 63,000 people.

Video – Airbus’ A330neo