Aircraft History, Specification and Information
Airbus A330-300
 

The Airbus A330 is a large-capacity, wide-body, twin-engine, medium- to long-range commercial passenger jet airliner. Depending on the variant, it has a range of 7,400 to 13,430 kilometres (4,000 to 7,250 nmi), can accommodate up to 335 passengers in a two-class layout, or carry 70 tonnes (150,000 lb) of cargo. The A330 was originally developed by Airbus Industrie,[Nb 1] and is manufactured at Toulouse, France.

Airbus began studying derivatives of its A300 in the 1970s before moving to larger designs and launching the A330 and A340 in June 1987. The A330 was developed in parallel with the four-engine Airbus A340, with which it shares common airframe components. It incorporates fly-by-wire technology, introduced by Airbus on the A320, and the company also decided that the A330 and A340 would share a common cockpit with the A320. The A330 was the first Airbus airliner with three engine options: the General Electric CF6, Pratt & Whitney PW4000, and Rolls-Royce Trent 700.

The A330-300, the first A330 passenger variant, took its maiden flight on 2 November 1992, and entered commercial service with Air Inter in 1994. Due to dwindling sales, Airbus followed up with the slightly shorter, but more popular A330-200 variant in 1998. Airbus has also used the A330 as the basis for development of a dedicated freighter, as well as two tanker variants: the A330 MRTT and, in conjunction with Northrop Grumman, the proposed KC-45.

Since its launch, the A330 has allowed Airbus to expand its market share in wide-body airliner sales. Airlines have selected the A330 as a replacement for less economical trijet airliners, and to compete with rival twinjet aircraft. Boeing has offered variants of the 767 and 777 as competitors, and it is expected to begin deliveries of the 787 Dreamliner in late 2011. Airbus's A350 will also share this wide-body airliner market. As of May 2011 the A330's order book stood at 1,127, of which 789 had been delivered. The largest operator is Delta Air Lines with 32 aircraft. The A330 is expected to continue selling until at least 2015.

Development

Background

Designed during the early 1970s, the Airbus A300 was envisioned as part of a diverse family of commercial aircraft. In pursuit of this long-term goal, studies began in the 1970s into derivatives of the A300B, the production version of the A300. Prior to introduction into service of the first Airbus airliners, engineers within Airbus identified nine possible variations of the A300, with names A300B1 through B9. A tenth variant, the A300B10, was conceived in 1973 and developed into the long-range Airbus A310. Airbus then focused its efforts on single-aisle (SA) studies, coming up with a family of airliners later known as the Airbus A320 family, the first commercial aircraft with digital fly-by-wire controls. The decision to work on the A320, instead of a four-engine aircraft proposed by the West Germans, created divisions within Airbus. During the development phase of the SA studies, which were targeted at the same market as the Boeing 737 and Douglas DC-9, Airbus turned its focus back to the wide-body aircraft market, simultaneously working on both projects.

Development of the A300B9, a larger derivative of the A300, began during the mid-1970s. The B9 was essentially a lengthened A300 with the same wing, coupled with the most powerful turbofan engine available at the time. It was targeted at the growing demand for high-capacity, medium-range, transcontinental trunk routes. Offering the same range and payload as the McDonnell Douglas DC-10, but being 25 percent more fuel efficient, the B9 was seen as a viable replacement for the DC-10 and Lockheed L-1011 TriStar.

At the same time, a 200-seat four-engine version, then known as the B11, was also under development. That aircraft was planned to take the place of less efficient Boeing 707s and Douglas DC-8s in commercial use. To differentiate the programme from the SA series, the B9 and B11 were re-designated as the TA9 and TA11 respectively, with TA standing for "twin aisle". Development costs were reduced by the decision to use the same fuselage and wing components for the two aircraft series, with projected savings estimated at US$500 million. The adoption of a common wing structure also had the technical advantage of the TA11's outboard engines' weight counteracting the upward wing loading in order to reduce the bending moment at the wing to fuselage connections. Another factor was the split preference of those within Airbus and, more importantly, those of the company's prospective customers. Airbus vice president for strategic planning, Adam Brown, recalled:

North American operators were clearly in favour of a twin, while Asians wanted a quad. In Europe, opinion was split between the two. The majority of potential customers were in favour of a quad despite the fact, in certain conditions, it is more costly to operate than a twin. ... They liked that it could be ferried with one engine out, and could fly 'anywhere'—remember ETOPS [Extended Twin-engine Operations] hadn't begun then.

Design effort

The first specifications for the TA9, an aircraft that could accommodate 410 passengers in a one-class layout, emerged in 1982. They showed a large underfloor cargo volume 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 at the time 8.46 metres (27.8 ft) longer than the A300. A shorter-range derivative of the B9, called the B12, was planned by Airbus. It also sketched two variants, the TA9-100 for short-range 2,800 km (1,500 nmi) sectors, and the longer-range TA9-200 for deployment on 6,100 km (3,300 nmi) flights.

By June 1985 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. The adoption of a common cockpit design across the new Airbus series allowed operators to make significant cost savings, with flight crews able to transition from one to another after only one week's training. The TA9 would use the vertical stabiliser, rudder, and circular fuselage sections of the A300-600, extended by two barrel sections. Components across the aircraft were modular, and interchangeable with other Airbus aircraft where possible. Airbus briefly considered the variable camber wing, a concept which requires changing of the airfoil or wing profile in-flight to produce the optimum shape 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 percent improvement in aerodynamic efficiency, but the plan was later abandoned on the grounds of cost and difficulty of development.

Airbus decided from the start that the A330 would be offered with a choice of engines supplied by the three major engine manufacturers, Rolls-Royce, Pratt & Whitney, and GE Aviation. In 1988, both Rolls-Royce and Pratt & Whitney agreed to produce engines for the A330, while GE Aviation was first to offer the General Electric CF6-80C2. However, later studies indicated that more thrust was needed from this engine to increase the initial power requirement from 267 to 289 kN (60,000 to 65,000 lbf). GE took the CF6-80C2 and enlarged the fan from 236 to 244 centimetres (93 to 96 in) to create the CF6-80E1, giving a new thrust output of 300–320 kN (67,000–72,000 lbf). Rolls-Royce initially wanted to use the 267 kN (60,000 lbf) 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 in the form of the Trent 700, with a larger diameter and 311 kN (70,000 lbf) of thrust. In the meantime, Pratt & Whitney signed an agreement which covered the development of the A330-only PW4168. The company similarly increased the fan size to augment power, enabling the engine to deliver 311 kN (70,000 lbf) of thrust.

Apart from the main undercarriage, produced by Messier-Dowty, the A330 shares a common airframe structure with the Airbus A340
On 27 January 1986, the Airbus Industrie Supervisory Board held a meeting in Munich, West Germany. Following the meeting, 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. On 12 May, Airbus sent sale proposals to five prospective airlines, including Lufthansa and Swissair.

Production and testing

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 15,000 m2 (160,000 sq ft) of floor area. BAe also spent £5 million expanding the Chester wing production plant by 14,000 m2 (150,000 sq ft) to accommodate a new production line. In Germany, Messerschmitt-Bölkow-Blohm (MBB) invested DM400 million ($225 million) at various manufacturing facilities in the Weser estuary, including at Bremen, Einswarden, Varel, and Hamburg. However, 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 first 21 m (69 ft) pillars had been erected for the new Clément Ader assembly hall. The assembly process would feature increased automation, with holes for the wing-fuselage mating process drilled by eight robots. For this particular process the use of automation lowered labour costs twenty percent and reduced time five percent.

On 12 March 1987, Airbus received the first orders for the twinjet. The domestic French airline Air France Europe (later changed to Air Inter) placed five firm orders and fifteen options, while Thai Airways International requested eight aircraft, split evenly between firm orders and options. Airbus announced the next day that it would formally launch the A330/A340 programme by mid-April 1987, with deliveries of the A340 to begin in May 1992, and A330 deliveries to start in 1993. Northwest Airlines followed the other airlines by signing a letter of intent for twenty A340s and ten A330s on 31 March.

BAe eventually received £450 million of funding from the UK government, well short of the £750 million they had originally requested for the design and construction of the wings. Funding from the German and French governments followed thereafter, while Airbus issued subcontracts to companies in Australia, Austria, Canada, China, Greece, Italy, India, Japan, South Korea, Portugal, the United States, and the former Yugoslavia. The A330 and A340 programmes were jointly launched on 5 June 1987, just prior to the Paris Air Show. 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. In 1989, Asian carrier Cathay Pacific joined the list of purchasers, ordering nine A330s, and later increasing this number to eleven.

The final assembly of the first A330 started with the tenth airframe of the A330/A340 line, with wing-fuselage mating beginning 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. At the Farnborough Airshow that year, Northwest deferred deliveries of sixteen A330s from its order to 1994. During a static test the wing failed just below requirements, although engineers at BAe later solved the problem.

The first completed A330 was rolled out on 14 October 1992, with the maiden flight following on 2 November at a mass of 181,840 kg (401,000 lb), including 20,980 kg (46,300 lb) of test equipment. The A330 became the biggest twinjet to have ever flown, although it would be eclipsed by the upcoming Boeing 777. The flight lasted five hours and fifteen minutes, during which a variety of 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. On 21 October 1993, the Airbus A330 received the European Joint Aviation Authorities (JAA) and US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) certification simultaneously, after the culmination of 1,114 airborne test hours and 426 test flights. This coincided with the revelation of weight test results showing the aircraft was 500 kg (1,100 lb) under its expected weight.

On 30 June 1994, trouble struck the certification programme for the PW4000 engine when an A330 registered F-WWKH, aircraft number 042, crashed near Toulouse-Blagnac Airport, killing all seven occupants onboard. The flight was designed to test autopilot response during a worst-case scenario with the centre of gravity near its aft limit. Flown by Michel Cais of Air Inter, and Chief Test Pilot Nick Warner, five other people, including a KLM captain, were also on board. The accident was investigated by an internal branch of Direction General d'Aviation, which revealed that the accident was a result of slow response and incorrect procedures taken by the crew, and poor co-ordination of the recovery procedure.

Entry into service

Air Inter became the first operator of the A330 after accepting delivery on 30 December 1993, and putting the aircraft into service on 17 January 1994 between Orly Airport, Paris and Marseille. Deliveries to Malaysia Airlines (MAS) and Thai Airways International were postponed due to 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 on 19 December 1994. MAS received its A330 on 1 February 1995, then rescheduled deliveries of its other ten aircraft on order. Cathay Pacific received its Trent 700 powered A330s just days later, following the certification of that engine on 22 December 1994.

Airbus intended the A330 to compete directly in the Extended-range Twin-engine Operation Performance Standards (ETOPS) market, specifically with the Boeing 767. Instead of the "ETOPS out of the box" or "Early ETOPS" approach taken by Boeing with its 777,[Nb 2] Airbus chose to gradually increase ETOPS approval on the A330 using in-service experience. Airbus suggested that the A340 and A330 were essentially identical other than their engine number; the A340's airline experience could be applied to the A330's ETOPS approval. The engines were intended to receive 180-minute approvals by 1995, with plans 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.[Nb 3] Aer Lingus and Cathay Pacific were two of the primary airlines assisting Airbus in this endeavour by building up in-service flight hours on over-ocean flights. In November 2009, the A330 became the first aircraft to receive ETOPS–240 approval, which is now offered by Airbus as an option.

Further development

Due to dwindling A330-300 sales, increased market penetration by the Boeing 767-300ER, and airline requests for increased-range and smaller aircraft, Airbus decided to proceed with the development of the Airbus A330-200. Known as the A329 and A330M10 during development, the A330-200 would offer an estimated nine percent lower operating costs than the Boeing 767-300ER. The project with US$450 million in expected development costs was granted approval by the Airbus Industrie Supervisory Board on 24 November 1995. Aimed at the 11,900 km (6,400 nmi) sector, Airbus predicted demand for 800 aircraft in this category between 1995 and 2015. The A330-200 first flew on 13 August 1997, with Airbus Chief Test Pilot William Wainwright and test pilot Bernard Schafer at the controls, accompanied by three flight test engineers. The sixteen-month certification process involved logging 630 hours of test flights. The A300-200's first customer was ILFC; these aircraft were leased by Canada 3000, who thereby became the A330-200's first operator.

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 which destroyed an Air France A340 in January 1994. On 4 January that year, a Malaysia Airlines A330-300, while undergoing regular maintenance at Singapore Changi Airport, was consumed by a fire which started in the right-hand main undercarriage well. The incident caused US$30 million in damage, and the aircraft took six months to repair. Consequently, operators were advised to disable electrical pumps in January 1997. Other problems included in-flight shutdowns of Trent 700-powered A330-300s. On 11 November 1996, engine failure on a Cathay Pacific flight forced the aircraft back to Ho Chi Minh City. On 17 April 1997, Cathay Pacific's affiliate, Dragonair, also experienced an engine shutdown on board one of its A330s, caused by carbon clogging its oil filter. As a result, Cathay Pacific self-imposed a suspension of 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, and the cause was later traced to metal contamination in the engine's master chip. Both Cathay Pacific and Dragonair voluntarily grounded their A330 fleet for two weeks following a fifth engine failure on 23 May. The combined fifteen-aircraft grounding caused major disruption since Cathay's eleven A330s made up seventeen percent of its fleet and fifteen percent of its passenger capacity. Rolls-Royce and Hispano-Suiza worked to resolve the problem, and a redesigned system for lubricating the areas involved was later dispatched to airlines.

Airbus next worked on an A330 freighter variant. Due to flagging A300-600F and A310F sales, the company began marketing the Airbus A330-200F, a derivative of the A330-200 around 2000–01. It has a range of 7,400 km (4,000 nmi) with 65 t (140,000 lb) on board, or 5,900 km (3,200 nmi) with 70 t (150,000 lb). The A330-200F made its maiden flight on 5 November 2009 that lasted three hours and fifty minutes. 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. The first delivery was subsequently made to the Etihad Airways cargo division, Etihad Crystal Cargo, in July 2010.

By the end of May 2011, a total of 1,127 A330s had been ordered, with 789 delivered. The largest operators of the A330 are the 32 run by Delta Air Lines—which had an all-Boeing fleet before getting its A330s in its merger with Northwest Airlines—and Cathay Pacific with 31. Due to strong demand, Airbus announced in February 2011 that it intended to raise production rates from the current seven-and-a-half to eight per month to nine per month in 2012, and ten per month in 2013. Airbus expects the A330 to continue selling until at least 2015.

Design

The A330 is a medium-sized, wide-body (twin-aisle) airliner, with two engines suspended on pylons under the wings. On the ground, the two-wheel nose undercarriage and two 4-wheel bogie main legs built by Messier-Dowty support a maximum ramp weight (MRW) of 230.9 t (509,000 lb), while the designed maximum takeoff weight (MTOW) is 230 t (510,000 lb) on the A330-200 variant. An option allows a maximum ramp weight of 233.9 t (516,000 lb) with a maximum takeoff weight of 233.0 t (514,000 lb).

Airframe

The A330 is a low-wing cantilever monoplane, whose wing is virtually identical to that of the Airbus A340. The wing is swept back at 30 degrees, and, along with other design features, allows a maximum operating Mach number of 0.86. Originally designed with a 56 m (183 ft 9 in) span, it was later extended to 58.6 m (192 ft 3 in), and finally to 60.3 m (197 ft 10 in). Each wing also has a 2.74 m (9 ft 0 in) tall winglet, instead of the wingtip fences found on earlier Airbus aircraft. The wing has a very high thickness to chord ratio of 12.8%, which means that a long span and high aspect ratio can be attained without a severe weight penalty; for comparison, the rival MD-11 has a thickness to chord ratio of 8–9%. Both true laminar flow and variable camber types of wing were considered, but neither were incorporated in the final design.

The failure of International Aero Engines to deliver the radical ultra-high-bypass V2500 "SuperFan", which had promised a significant fuel burn reduction of around 15% for the A340 led Airbus to redesign, among other things, the A340 wing to compensate for the loss in predicted engine efficiency. The wings were designed and manufactured by BAe, and the new design was a long slender wing with a very high aspect ratio to provide high aerodynamic efficiency.[Nb 4] The A330 also benefited since it shared the same basic wing with the A340. At 60.3 m (198 ft), the wingspan is similar to the larger Boeing 747-200, but with only 65% of the wing area.

The A330's fuselage and major components, like its wing, is largely in common with the A340. It features the same fuselage and cabin width as the Airbus A300-600, at 5.64 m (18 ft 6 in) and 5.28 m (17 ft 4 in), respectively. The aircraft's airframe is primarily based on that of the A300-600, with many parts in common. This allows for 2–2–2 six-abreast seat arrangement in first and business class, and 2–4–2 eight-abreast in economy. The A330's vertical stabiliser and rudder are made mostly of composite materials.

Flight deck and avionics

Airbus decided that the A330 and A340 would share the same glass cockpit flight deck layout as the A320, featuring electronic instrument displays rather than mechanical gauges, and presenting cost-saving measures to airlines. For example, flight crew transition from the A330 to A340 takes as little as three days. The flight deck has side-stick controls in place of a conventional control yoke, six main displays, and the Electronic Flight Instrument System (EFIS), a term which covers navigation and flight displays, as well as Electronic Centralised Aircraft Monitor (ECAM). 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.

Variants

There are two main variants of the A330. The A330-300 was launched in 1987, with entry into service in 1994. The A330-200 was launched in 1995, and entered service in 1998 with passenger, freighter, and tanker variants available. The A330 competes with Boeing's 767 and the lower end of the 777 family.

A330-200

The A330-200 is a shortened but longer-range stablemate of the A330-300, entering service in 1998, four years after the -300. Launched in 1995, when sales for the -300 were flagging, it was developed to compete with the Boeing 767-300ER. The 767-400ER also competes with the -200 to a lesser extent, as will the 787 Dreamliner after entering service. The decision to launch the A330-200 programme was reliant on development plans of higher-weight A340s, which would eventually become the A340-300E.

The A330-200 is ten fuselage frames shorter than the original -300, with a length of 58.82 m (193 ft 0 in). To compensate for the smaller moment arm of the shorter fuselage, the vertical stabiliser height of the -200 was increased by 104 cm (41 in) over that of the -300. The -200's wing was also modified; structural strengthening of the wing allowed the maximum takeoff weight of the -200 to be increased to 229.8 t (507,000 lb).

Airbus also boosted fuel capacity by bringing into use the centre section 139,100 L (36,700 US gal) fuel tank, standard in the A340. Typical range with 253 passengers in a three-class configuration is 13,400 km (7,200 nmi). The -200 is offered with three engines similar to those found on the -300. On the ground, electrical power is generated by the Honeywell 331–350[A] auxiliary power unit (APU). The changes made to the -200 significantly improved the economics of the aircraft and made the variant more popular than the four-engine variant—the number of -200s sold, at 562 as of May 2011, surpasses the whole A340 family, with 479 sales.

The -200, powered by the General Electric CF6-80E1A2 engines, made its maiden flight in 1997, receiving its FAA and JAA certifications simultaneously on 31 March 1998. ILFC was the first customer, ordering fifteen aircraft, with the first delivery in April 1998, however Canada 3000 was the first operator after it leased the -200 from ILFC. As of March 2011, 558 of the variant had been ordered, 412 of which had been delivered, with 408 aircraft still in operation. Each unit, in 2011 prices, costs US$200.8 million. The A330-200 is also available as an ultra-long-range corporate jet from Airbus Executive and Private Aviation, under the banner "A330-200 Prestige".

A330-200HGW

In 2008, Airbus released plans for a higher gross weight version of the A330-200 to more effectively compete against the Boeing 787 Dreamliner. This new A330 version will have a maximum takeoff weight of 238 t (520,000 lb), and its new range will be up to 12,450 km (6,720 nmi). The new-build A330-200HGW will have the option of an extra 610 km (330 nmi) of range, or an additional 3.4 t (7,500 lb) of payload over the standard 233-tonne -200. Airbus believes the first twenty 787 Dreamliners will have a 219.5 t (484,000 lb) maximum takeoff weight and be limited to a 12,450 km (6,720 nmi) range, around 1,900 km (1,000 nmi) less than the figures published by Boeing. Korean Air became the first customer on 27 February 2009, ordering six -200HGWs. Deliveries of the first aircraft started in 2010.

A330-200F

The A330-200F is an all-cargo derivative of the A330-200, capable of carrying 65 t (140,000 lb) over 7,400 km (4,000 nmi), or 70 t (150,000 lb) up to 5,900 km (3,200 nmi). The freighter introduces a new main-deck cargo loading system, capable of accommodating both containers and pallets. The main deck can accommodate different cargo combinations, taking up to twenty-three 220 × 320 cm (87 × 130 in) side-by-side pallets, or an optional single-row (SR) loading of sixteen 240 × 240 × 320 cm (94 × 94 × 130 in) SR pallets or nine AMA containers, or a combination of both, with the installation of an optional secondary structure.

To overcome the standard A330's nose-down body angle on the ground, the A330F uses a revised nose undercarriage layout. The normal A330-200 undercarriage is used, however its attachment points are lower in the fuselage, requiring a distinctive blister fairing on the nose to accommodate the retracted nose gear, and providing a level deck for cargo loading. 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.

The A330-200F re-emerged at the 2006 Farnborough Airshow and received its industrial go-ahead in January 2007. The first -200F was rolled out in Toulouse on 20 October 2009, making its first flight on 5 November. The aircraft received its JAA certification on 9 April 2010, with the first delivery to Etihad Crystal Cargo on 9 August 2010. As of May 2011, Airbus had 57 firm orders, with the price of each -200F listed at US$203.6 million. As well as new-build freighters, Airbus has proposed passenger-to-freighter conversions of existing -200 airliners. Comparable freighters to the -200F include Boeing's 767-300F.

A330-300

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 63.69 m (208 ft 11 in) 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 10,500 km (5,700 nmi). The -300 has a large cargo capacity, comparable to 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, and uses the Honeywell 331–350[A] APU.

French domestic airline Air Inter was the launch customer for the aircraft. As of May 2011, 508 -300s had been ordered, 362 of which had been delivered, with 361 remaining in operation. The list price of each -300 is US$222.5 million. The closest competitors are the Boeing 777-200, and the now-out-of-production McDonnell Douglas MD-11. Airbus is planning a two-tonne increase in maximum gross weight of the -300.

Undeveloped variants

A330-200Lite

To compete with Boeing's 7E7, Airbus offered a minimum-change derivative called the A330-200Lite in 2004. This aircraft was also to be a suitable replacement for the ageing Airbus A300-600Rs and earlier Boeing 767s. As the name indicated, this proposed variant would have had a lower maximum takeoff weight of 202 tonnes (450,000 lb), coupled with de-rated engines, giving a range estimated to be 7,400 km (4,000 nmi). It was offered to a number of airlines, including Singapore Airlines, who was looking to replace its Airbus A310-300s. Airlines however were not satisfied with the compromised aircraft, so Airbus decided to proceed with an entirely new aircraft, the A350 XWB.

A330-300HGW

The A330-300HGW was to be a higher gross weight version of the -300 at 240 t (530,000 lb), a 7-tonne (15,000 lb) increase over the -300, which called for structural strengthening of the wing. It was also to have an increased fuel capacity of 139,100 L (36,700 US gal); the 41,600 L (11,000 US gal) fuel capacity increase was possible through the adoption of the centre section fuel tank, and allowed for the range to be increased to 11,000 km (5,900 nmi). Among those that showed interest was leasing company ILFC, who was seeking airliners with sufficient range for US West Coast–Europe services.

Power was to be supplied by all three engines offered to the two other A330 passenger models, although plans were also considered for the -500 to be the first twinjet application of the Engine Alliance GP7000, a joint programme between GE Aviation and Pratt & Whitney. It was scheduled to fly during the third quarter of 2003, with entry into service in 2004. However, the programme was ended after insufficient customer interest was secured.

A330-500

The A330-500, also known as the A330-100, was a proposed "shrink" of the A330-200 version, launched in July 2000 at the Farnborough Airshow. The -500's maximum takeoff weight was to be 228 t (500,000 lb), a 5-tonne (11,000 lb) decrease from the A330-200, achieved by removing eight fuselage frames, four fore and four aft of the wing. This would allow for the seating of 222 passengers, and, with the reduced MTOW, was to give a range of 12,970 km (7,000 nmi). A lighter sub-variant, at 195 t (430,000 lb), would have flown up to 8,060 km (4,350 nmi). The aircraft would have had 5 percent better specific fuel consumption than the A300-600, powered by either theCF6-80G2, PW4000, or the Trent 500.

Prospective customers included ILFC, CIT Aerospace, Lufthansa, and Hapag-Lloyd. The latter two, however, were unimpressed with the long-range variant, preferring a shorter-ranged aircraft which was better suited to their route structure. Singapore Airlines was also an expected customer, as they were looking for a replacement for the A310. 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. The programme was later abandoned, lacking interest from customers.

Military variants

Airbus A330 MRTT

The Airbus A330 MRTT is the Multi-Role Transport and Tanker (MRTT) version of the A330-200, designed for aerial refuelling and strategic transport. It has been ordered by the air forces of Australia, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, and the UK.

EADS/Northrop Grumman KC-45

The EADS/Northrop Grumman KC-45 is a 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 A330 MRTT variant, which they designated KC-45A, to replace the Boeing KC-135 Stratotanker. The replacement process was mired in controversy, instances of corruption, and allegations of favouritism. In July 2010, EADS submitted a tanker bid to the USAF without Northrop Grumman as a partner, however, on 24 February 2011, the USAF picked the Boeing KC-767 proposal, later named KC-46, as the winner.

Airline operators

On 12 March 1987, Airbus received the first orders for the twinjet. The domestic French airline Air Inter (then Air France Europe) placed five firm orders and 15 options while Thai Airways International requested eight aircraft, split evenly between firm orders and options. The following day, Airbus announced that it planned to formally launch the A330/A340 programme by mid-April 1987, and was on track to deliver the first A340 by May 1992 and the A330 the following year. On 31 March, Northwest Airlines followed Air Inter and Thai by signing a letter of intent for 20 A340s and 10 A330s.

Air Inter became the first operator of the A330 after accepting delivery on 30 December 1993 and placing the aircraft into service on 17 January 1994 between Orly Airport and Marseille. Deliveries to Malaysia Airlines (MAS) and Thai Airways International were postponed due to delamination of the composite materials in the engine thrust reverser assembly. Thai Airways received its first A330 during the second half of the year, operating it on routes to Taipei and Seoul from Bangkok on 19 December 1994. MAS received its A330 on 1 February 1995 then rescheduled deliveries of the 10 other aircraft on order. Cathay Pacific received Trent 700s days after MAS following the certification of the engine on 22 December 1994.

A list of operators of the Airbus A330, as of 30 April 2011:

Flag Airline A330-200 A330-200F A330-300 Total
European Union Airbus Executive and Private Aviation 15 15
Republic of Ireland Aer Lingus 3 4 8
Russia Aeroflot 5 5 10
Libya Afriqiyah Airways 2 2
Algeria Air Algérie 5 5
New Caledonia Air Calédonie International 2 2
Canada Air Canada 8 8
Guadeloupe Air Caraïbes 1 3 4
People's Republic of China Air China 20 5 25
Spain Air Europa 7 7
France Air France 15 15
Greenland Air Greenland 1 1
India Air India Limited 2 2
Mauritius Air Mauritius 2 2
Canada Air Transat 6 2 8
Malaysia AirAsia X 9 9
Italy Alitalia 4 4
Nigeria Arik Air 1 1
South Korea Asiana Airlines 9 9
Turkey AtlasJet 3 3
Colombia Avianca 6 6
Indonesia Batavia Air 2 2
Kazakhstan Berkut Air 1 1
United Kingdom bmi - British Midland 2 2
Belgium Brussels Airlines 5 5
Hong Kong Cathay Pacific 32 32
Republic of China China Airlines 18 18
People's Republic of China China Eastern Airlines 5 15 20
People's Republic of China China Southern Airlines 10 8 18
France Corsairfly 2 2
Cyprus Cyprus Airways 2 2
United States Delta Air Lines 11 21 32
Hong Kong Dragonair 16 16
Switzerland Edelweiss Air 1 1 2
Egypt EgyptAir 7 1 8
United Arab Emirates Emirates Airline 27 27
United Arab Emirates Etihad Airways 16 2 3 21
Republic of China EVA Air 11 11
Finland Finnair 8 8
Indonesia Garuda Indonesia 7 6 14
Bahrain Gulf Air 10 10
People's Republic of China Hainan Airlines 7 3 10
United States Hawaiian Airlines 3 3
Portugal Hifly 1 1 2
Hong Kong Hong Kong Airlines 5 2 7
Spain Iberworld 2 2
India Jet Airways 12 12
Australia Jetstar Airways 8 8
India Kingfisher Airlines 5 5
Netherlands KLM 11 11
South Korea Korean Air 6 16 22
Italy Livingston Energy Flight 2 2
Germany LTU International Airways 10 3 13
Germany Lufthansa 15 15
Malaysia Malaysia Airlines 3 9 12
Italy Meridiana Fly 3 3
Lebanon Middle East Airlines 4 4
United Kingdom Monarch Airlines 2 2
Oman Oman Air 3 3 6
Portugal Orbest 1 1
Turkey Onur Air 3 3
Philippines Philippine Airlines 8 8
Australia Qantas 9 10 19
Qatar Qatar Airways 16 13 29
Jordan Royal Jordanian 2 2
Turkey Saga Airlines 1 1
Saudi Arabia Saudi Arabian Airlines 8 8
Denmark Norway Sweden Scandinavian Airlines System 4 4
People's Republic of China Sichuan Airlines 2 2
Singapore Singapore Airlines 19 19
South Africa South African Airways 1 1
Sri Lanka SriLankan Airlines 5 5
Australia Strategic Airlines 1 1
Switzerland Swiss International Airlines 4 10 14
Brazil TAM Linhas Aéreas 18 18
Portugal TAP Portugal 12 12
Thailand Thai Airways International Thai airways received the 1000th A330 from airbus. 20 20
Denmark Thomas Cook Airlines Scandinavia 1 1 2
United Kingdom Thomas Cook Airlines U.K. 6 2 8
Turkey Turkish Airlines 7 1 4 12
United States US Airways 7 9 16
Vietnam Vietnam Airlines 9 1 10
United Kingdom Virgin Atlantic 2 2
Australia Virgin Australia 2 2
Russia Vladivostok Avia 3 3
France XL Airways France 2 2
Yemen Yemenia 3 3
Undisclosed 2 2
Totals   405 5 350 760

Military Operators

Australia
Royal Australian Air Force ordered 5 aircraft, with three currently completed and undergoing flight testing. The RAAF will take delivery in June 2011.

Saudi Arabia
Royal Saudi Air Force ordered 6 aircraft.

United Arab Emirates
United Arab Emirates Air Force ordered 3 aircraft.

United Kingdom
Royal Air Force will lease 14 aircraft, with two currently completed and undergoing flight testing.

Orders and deliveries

A list of orders, deliveries and operators of the Airbus A330 at 8 March 2011:

Airline A330-200 A330-200F A330-300 Total
Ord Del Opr Ord Del Opr Ord Del Opr Ord Del Opr
European Union Airbus Executive and Private Aviation 30 16 15 30 16 15
Republic of Ireland Aer Lingus 3 3 3 8 5 5 11 8 8
United States AerCap 14 10 15 11 29 21
Russia Aeroflot 5 11 5 11 10
Libya Afriqiyah Airways 3 3 2 3 3 2
Algeria Air Algérie 5 5 5 5 5 5
New Caledonia Air Calédonie International 2 2 2 2 2 2
Canada Air Canada 8 8 8 8 8 8
Guadeloupe Air Caraïbes 1 3 2 3 3 2 4
People's Republic of China Air China 30 20 20 10 2 5 40 22 25
Spain Air Europa 7 7
France Air France 8 8 15 8 8 15
Greenland Air Greenland 1 1
India Air India Limited 2 2
France Air Inter 4 4 4 4
Mauritius Air Mauritius 2 2 2 2 2 2
Canada Air Transat 6 2 8
Malaysia AirAsia X 3 25 8 9 28 8 9
United States Aircastle Advisor 7 1 3 2 10 3
Republic of Ireland Aircraft Purchase Fleet 8 8
Italy Alitalia 2 4 2 4
Nigeria Arik Air 1 1
South Korea Asiana Airlines 6 6 9 6 6 9
Turkey AtlasJet 3 3
Austria Austrian Airlines 3 3 3 3
Colombia Avianca 10 5 5 10 5 5
Republic of Ireland AWAS 5 4 7 7 12 11
Indonesia Batavia Air 2 2
Kazakhstan Berkut Air 1 1
United Kingdom bmi - British Midland 1 1 2 1 1 2
Singapore BOC Aviation 5 5
Belgium Brussels Airlines 5 5
People's Republic of China CASGC 6 6
Hong Kong Cathay Pacific 34 28 31 34 28 31
Republic of China China Airlines 14 14 18 14 14 18
People's Republic of China China Eastern Airlines 21 5 5 15 15 15 36 20 20
People's Republic of China China Southern Airlines 16 10 10 8 8 8 24 18 18
United States CIT Leasing 34 26 5 2 39 28
France Corsairfly 2 2 2 2 2 2
Cyprus Cyprus Airways 2 2
United States Delta Air Lines 11 21 32
Hong Kong Dragonair 5 5 16 5 5 16
Switzerland Edelweiss Air 1 1 2
Egypt EgyptAir 7 7 7 5 1 1 12 8 8
United Arab Emirates Emirates Airline 28 28 27 28 28 27
United Arab Emirates Etihad Airways 12 12 16 2 2 2 6 3 3 20 17 21
Republic of China EVA Air 3 3 11 3 3 11
Finland Finnair 8 8 8 8 8 8
Switzerland Flightlease 9 9 9 9
Indonesia Garuda Indonesia 6 5 6 6 6 12 6 11
United States GECAS 20 20 12 32 20
Spain Grupo Marsans 4 4 4 4
United States Guggenheim Aviation Partners 3 1 3 1
Bahrain Gulf Air 6 6 10 20 26 6 10
People's Republic of China Hainan Airlines 7 3 10
United States Hawaiian Airlines 13 3 13 3
Portugal Hifly 1 1 2
Hong Kong Hong Kong Airlines 14 6 5 2 4 18 6 7
Hong Kong Hong Kong International Aviation Leasing 3 3 3 3
Germany HSH Nordbank 2 2 2 2
Spain IAG Iberia 8 8
Spain Iberworld 2 2
United States ILFC 68 68 30 30 98 98
United States Intrepid Aviation 20 20
India Jet Airways 15 10 12 15 10 12
Australia Jetstar Airways 8 8
India Kingfisher Airlines 20 5 5 20 5 5
Netherlands KLM 8 7 11 8 7 11
South Korea Korean Airlines 9 6 6 16 16 16 25 22 22
Republic of Ireland Lease Corporation International 11 11 11 11
Libya Libyan Airlines 4 4
Italy Livingston Energy Flight 2 2
Germany LTU International Airways 10 5 5 3 5 5 13
Germany Lufthansa 18 15 15 18 15 15
Malaysia Malaysia Airlines 3 4 25 10 9 29 10 12
United States Matlin Patterson 6 6
Italy Meridiana Fly 3 3
Lebanon Middle East Airlines 4 4 4 4 4 4
Turkey MNG Airlines 4 4
United Kingdom Monarch Airlines 2 2 2 2 2 2
United Kingdom MyTravel Airways (UK) 4 4 3 3 7 7
United States Northwest Airlines 11 11 21 21 32 32
United States OH - Avion 8 8
Oman Oman Air 2 1 3 3 3 3 5 4 6
Turkey Onur Air 3 3
Portugal Orbest 1 1
Philippines Philippine Airlines 8 8 8 8 8 8
Australia Qantas 10 10 9 10 10 10 20 20 19
Qatar Qatar Airways 13 13 16 13 13 13 26 26 29
Jordan Royal Jordanian Airlines 2 2
Belgium Sabena 3 3 3 3
Turkey Saga Airlines 1 1
Saudi Arabia Saudi Arabian Airlines 8 8 8 8 8 8
Denmark Norway Sweden Scandinavian Airlines System 4 4 4 4 4 4
People's Republic of China Sichuan Airlines 2 2
Singapore Singapore Airlines 19 19
South Africa South African Airways 1 1
Sri Lanka SriLankan Airlines 6 6 5 6 6 5
Australia Strategic Airlines 1 1
Switzerland Swiss International Airlines 4 16 11 10 16 11 14
Switzerland Swissair 4 4 4 4
Brazil TAM Airlines 15 13 18 15 13 18
Portugal TAP Portugal 5 5 12 5 5 12
Thailand Thai Airways International 27 20 20 27 20 20
Denmark Thomas Cook Airlines Scandinavia 1 1 2
United Kingdom Thomas Cook Airlines U.K. 6 2 8
Republic of China TransAsia Airways 2 2
United Kingdom TUI Travel 2 2
Tunisia Tunis Air 3 3
Turkey Turkish Airlines 6 5 7 2 1 1 10 4 4 18 10 12
United States US Airways 15 7 7 9 9 9 24 16 16
Vietnam Vietnam Airlines 9 1 10
United Kingdom Virgin Atlantic 6 1 2 6 1 2
Australia Virgin Australia 2 2 2 2
Russia Vladivostok Air 3 3
United Arab Emirates Waha Capital 2 2 2 2
France XL Airways France 2 2
Yemen Yemenia - Yemen Airways 3 3
Undisclosed 2 -4 -4 2
A330-200 A330-200F A330-300 Total
Ord Del Opr Ord Del Opr Ord Del Opr Ord Del Opr
Totals 560 409 405 54 5 5 504 351 350 1118 765 760
Backlog 149 49 153 351

Accidents and incidents

As of April 2011, the Airbus A330 had been involved in twelve major incidents, including six confirmed hull-loss accidents and two hijackings, for a total of 338 fatalities.

Notable accidents and incidents

On 30 June 1994, an A330 owned by Airbus on a test flight simulating an engine failure on climbout crashed shortly after takeoff from Toulouse, killing all seven on board.

On 15 March 2000, a Malaysia Airlines A330-300 was severely damaged by corrosive liquids that were being transported in the cargo hold on a passenger flight from Beijing to Kuala Lumpur. The oxalyl chloride was mistakenly declared as the non-toxic solid hydroxyquinoline. Eighteen canisters of the substance were transported via Kuala Lumpur intended to transit to Chennai. Some of the canisters leaked and chemicals spilled into the aircraft's cargo hold, causing five airport workers at Kuala Lumpur to fall ill as they were unloading baggage, and resulting in extensive corrosion damage to the fuselage, wing box structure, and undercarriage. The aircraft was subsequently written-off. On 12 June 2007, a court in Beijing ordered China National Chemical Construction Corp, the owner of the cargo, to pay US$65 million to Malaysia Airlines for the loss.

On 25 May 2000, an Airbus A330-301 on Philippine Airlines Flight 812, en-route from Davao City, the Philippines, to Manila, was hijacked. The hijacker robbed valuables before parachuting off. He died in the jump, and was the only fatality out of 298 people on board.

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.

On 24 August 2001, Air Transat, Flight 236, an A330-243, performed the world's longest recorded glide with a jet airliner after suffering fuel exhaustion over the Atlantic Ocean. The plane flew powerless for half an hour and covered 65 nautical miles (120 km) to an emergency landing in the Azores (Portugal). No one was hurt, but the aircraft suffered some structural damage and blown tires.

On 18 July 2003, B-HYA, a Dragonair A330-342 encountered severe turbulence associated with Tropical Depression Koni over the South China Sea, during the flight KA060 from Kota Kinabalu to Hong Kong. 12 crew members and 3 passengers were injured, of which 2 crew members sustained serious injuries, but there were no fatalities. The aircraft landed safely at Hong Kong International Airport. Hong Kong Civil Aviation Department B-HYA Accident Investigation report.

On 7 October 2008, an A330-303 (VH-QPA) on Qantas Flight 72 suffered a rapid loss of altitude in two sudden uncommanded pitch down manoeuvres, causing serious injuries while 150 km (81 nmi) from the Learmonth air base in northwestern Australia. After declaring an emergency, the aircraft landed safely at Learmonth. A total of 106 people onboard the Airbus A330 were injured, fourteen seriously. A year after the incident Qantas still did not know what caused the critical computer malfunction.

On 1 June 2009, an A330-203 on Air France Flight 447, en route from Rio de Janeiro to Paris with 228 people on board, disappeared over the Atlantic Ocean. The aircraft crashed in the Atlantic Ocean 640–800 kilometres (350–430 nmi) northeast of the islands of Fernando de Noronha. All passengers and crew were killed. Malfunctioning pitot tubes provided an early focus for the investigation.

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.

On 13 April 2010, an A330-300 on Cathay Pacific Flight 780 from Surabaya, Indonesia, with 309 passengers and thirteen crew on board, made an emergency landing at Hong Kong International Airport due to a dual engine problem. Several tires deflated due to severe braking as the aircraft landed at high speed. Eight passengers were injured. The preliminary incident report suggested that contamination of the fuel loaded at Surabaya caused the engine throttles to jam.

On 12 May 2010, an A330-202 on Afriqiyah Airways Flight 771, 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 being a nine-year-old Dutch boy.

Specifications

A330-200 A330-200F A330-300
Cockpit crew Two
Seating capacity,
typical
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
162.8 m3 (5,750 cu ft)
Operating empty weight (typical) 119,600 kg (264,000 lb) 109,000 kg (240,000 lb) 124,500 kg (274,000 lb)
Maximum zero fuel weight 168,000 kg (370,000 lb) 173,000 kg (380,000 lb) 173,000 kg (380,000 lb)
Maximum takeoff weight (MTOW) 230,000 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) 287–320 kN (65,000–72,000 lbf) 287–316 kN (65,000–71,000 lbf) 287–320 kN (65,000–72,000 lbf)

Engines

Model Date of 180-minute approval Engines
A330-201 2002 General Electric CF6-80E1A2
A330-202 1998 GE CF6-80E1A4 / CF6-80E1A4B
A330-203 2001 GE CF6-80E1A3
A330-223 1998–2009 Pratt & Whitney PW4168A / PW4168A-1D / PW4170
A330-223F 2010 PW4170
A330-243 1999 Rolls-Royce Trent 772B-60
A330-243F 2010 RR Trent 772B-60
A330-301 1995 GE CF6-80E1A2
A330-302 2007 GE CF6-80E1A4
A330-303 2007 GE CF6-80E1A3
A330-321 1995 PW4164
A330-322 1995 PW4168
A330-323 1999–2009 PW4168A / PW4168A-1D / PW4168B / PW4170
A330-341 1996 RR Trent 768-60
A330-342 1996 RR Trent 772-60
A330-343 1999 RR Trent 772B-60
A330-343 2006 RR Trent 772C-60
Last updated June 14, 2011
This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Airbus A330".
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