Airbus A330neo to debut in 2017

By David Flynn, July 14 2014
Airbus A330neo to debut in 2017

Airbus will proceed with the A330neo jet, officially dubbed the A330-800neo and A330-900neo, as a next-generation upgrade to its best-selling A330 twin-aisle aircraft.

The French aviation company couldn't resist the lure of announcing the long-rumoured A330neo on the first day of the Farnborough Air Show, which happened to fall on the France's national Bastille Day of July 14th.

The first A330neo will be delivered to its as-yet-revealed launch customer towards the end of 2017.

The multibillion-dollar project will see the A330 fitted with larger more fuel-efficient engines and follows in the footsteps of the A320neo, which saw similar technology grafted onto the popular single-aisle jet.

Read: Air New Zealand orders up Airbus A320neo, A321neo jets

The A330-800neo and A330-900neo will be upgraded versions of the A330-200 and A330-300, respectively, and will also boast extended flying range plus cabin improvements aimed at more efficient use of floor space.

In other words: more bums on seats.

Read: Airbus reveals new A321neo layout

The A330neo is tipped to pack between 252 and 306 seats depending on how many classes an airline fits, which is around 10 more than a similarly configured A330, although Airbus says those seats will still be a comfortable 18 inches wide.

Other mod cons will include LED mood lighting and "full connectivity" if an airline wants to add inflight Internet to the list of cost-extra options.

The new engines plus other aerodynamic tweaks are expected to reduce fuel consumption by 14% compared to the A330 'classic', Airbus says.

The official list prices – which no airline ever pays – come in at US$241.7 million (A$257.4 million) for the A330-800neo and US$275.6 million (A$293.3 million) for the A330-900neo.

The current A330 is Airbus' most popular twin-aisle aircraft, with some 1,000 of the medium-range jets carrying the colours of over 100 airlines including Qantas and Virgin Australia.

"Customers love (the A330)" said Tom Enders, Airbus Group CEO. "With our decision to re-engine the plane, we will keep the A330 flying high for many more years to come."

The A330neo will provide "an optimal solution for airlines around the world looking to minimise their fuel and operating costs while offering best-in-class comfort to their passengers" said Fabrice Brégier, Airbus President and CEO.

"We see strong market potential for the A330neo, and like its market-leading smaller sister, the A320neo, we are confident this new aircraft will be a success in the medium-haul segment."

However, only last month at the company's annual Airbus Innovation Days media conference, Airbus sought to damp down speculation on the A330neo.

While admitting that a souped-up engine swap would be "relatively straightforward",  Airbus chief operating officer John Leahy admitted to concern over "possible cannibalisation" by the A330neo over sales of its parent A330 along with smaller versions of the A350. 

"It is an interesting idea, we go back and forth on it" Leahy reflected, while executive vice president of strategy and marketing Kiran Rao added that "it's not a decision we will rush into.”

Earlier today Airbus also announced that the A350 would visit Sydney on August 5th as part of  "a series of tests throughout the world in order to secure certification" of the advanced jet.

Read: Airbus A350 coming to Sydney on August 5

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David Flynn is the Editor-in-Chief of Executive Traveller and a bit of a travel tragic with a weakness for good coffee, shopping and lychee martinis.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

05 Jun 2014

Total posts 209

This is interesting because I would have thought that the a350 marked the end of the a330 being so similar in size, range etc. But well done to Airbus for putting faith in one of their succesfull planes!!


16 Nov 2011

Total posts 600

The A350 is more of a 777 competitor than an A330 competitor.

Airbus has had nothing that in reality directly competes with the 777. The A330-300 is about the same length as a 777-200 but a smaller diameter cabin. The smallest A350 is a tad shorter but being wider than the A330 has about the same capacity as a A330-300 and 777-200.

So different market segments completly. It's (A330) main competitor actually will be the 787 variants.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

05 Jun 2014

Total posts 209

I understand what you were saying but what I was.trying to say is that the a330neo seems quite similar to the a350 (from what I could see here). So I am surprised that they were making it however I  dont think either compete that closely with the 777. (777 has it all, range, efficientcy, capacity etc.)

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

17 Aug 2012

Total posts 2212

I agree with AJW. The A330neo will offer a strong 787 competitor, and the A350 will offer a strong 777 competitor.

In my view, the A351 will compete with the larger 777s (think CX replacing 77Ws), and the A359 will compete with the smaller 777s (think SQ replacing 77Es); the family will offer a downsize from the 747 (think QF) or an upsize from the A330 (think MH).

The A338 and A339 will take the A332 and A333 to the end of their potential, I think, and while offering a cheaper, more conventional alternative to the more conservative carriers which operate them already (think DL, US).

I think there is a place for the existing A330 to be stripped down in weight for regional use especially in Asia.

So summing up, I think the A330ceo, A330neo and A350 families will provide Airbus with the catch-all family of widebody aircraft they've been trying to get since the A340 flop.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

20 Sep 2013

Total posts 467

Thanks David,i suspect we no more about this great aircraft than QF management.But may be hold off the re configeration.....and pack am in.

undertheradar Banned
undertheradar Banned

28 Oct 2011

Total posts 654

 'Robert', your comments, and your complete lack of spelling/grammar knowledge, make me laugh

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

25 Sep 2013

Total posts 1252

Sweet. Though I am missing the classic winglets.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

28 Jan 2014

Total posts 10

The 2-4-2 layout is one of the great draws of an A330 product for me (vs a 3-3-3 or 3-4-3) so I hope by "more bums on seats", they aren't going to jeopardise the 8-across in that config. 

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

19 Feb 2014

Total posts 445

I like flying the A330 since it's the 'quietest cabin in the sky'.  That with a 2x4x2 config, odds are in your favour of getting an empty seat next to you in A or K.  Win/win aircraft as far as passengers are concerned...

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