Airbus A330 is a medium- to long-range wide-body twin-engine jet
airliner made by Airbus. Versions of the A330 have a range of 5,000 to
13,430 kilometres (2,700 to 7,250 nmi; 3,110 to 8,350 mi)
and can accommodate up to 335 passengers in a two-class layout or
carry 70 tonnes (154,000 lb) of cargo.
The A330's origin dates to the mid-1970s as one of several conceived
derivatives of Airbus's first airliner, the A300. The A330 was
developed in parallel with the four-engine 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
Airbus launched the A330 and A340. The A330 was
Airbus's first airliner that offered a choice of three engine types:
General Electric CF6, Pratt & Whitney PW4000, and Rolls-Royce
The A330-300, the first variant, took its maiden flight in November
1992 and entered passenger service with
Air Inter in January 1994.
Airbus followed up with the slightly shorter A330-200 variant in 1998.
Subsequently-developed A330 variants include a dedicated freighter,
the A330-200F, a military tanker, the A330 MRTT, and a corporate jet,
ACJ330. The A330 MRTT formed the basis of the proposed KC-45, entered
into the US Air Force's
KC-X competition in conjunction with Northrop
Grumman, where after an initial win, on appeal lost to Boeing's
Since its launch, the A330 has allowed
Airbus to expand market share
in wide-body airliners. Competing twinjets include the
Boeing 767 and
777, along with the 787, which entered service in late 2011. The
Airbus A350 XWB was planned to succeed both the A330 and
Airbus intends to replace the current A330 (referred to as the
A330ceo (current engine option) since 2014) with the A330neo, which
includes new engines and other improvements. As of
December 2017[update], A330 orders stand at 1,707, of which 1,390
have been delivered and 1,358 remain in operation. The largest
Turkish Airlines with 64 A330s in its fleet.
1.2 Design effort
1.3 Production and testing
1.4 Entry into service
1.5 Further developments
1.5.3 A330 Regional
1.6 In service engine shutdowns
3.1.2 A330 Regional
3.4 A330 Converted Freighter
3.7 Beluga replacement
3.8 Military variants
Airbus A330 MRTT
Northrop Grumman KC-45
3.9 Undeveloped variants
4.1 Orders and deliveries
5 Accidents and incidents
6.1 Aircraft model designations
6.2 ICAO Aircraft Type Designators
7 See also
9 Further reading
10 External links
Airbus jetliners, 1972–1994
Airbus's first airliner, the A300, was envisioned as part of a diverse
family of commercial aircraft. In pursuit of this goal, studies began
in the early 1970s into derivatives of the A300. Before
introducing the A300,
Airbus identified nine possible variations
designated B1 through B9. A tenth variant, the A300B10, was
conceived in 1973 and developed into the longer range
Airbus then focused its efforts on single-aisle (SA) studies,
conceiving a family of airliners later known as the
family, the first commercial aircraft with digital fly-by-wire
controls. During these studies
Airbus turned its focus back to the
wide-body aircraft market, simultaneously working on both
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. Offering the same range and payload as the McDonnell
Douglas DC-10 but with 25 per cent more fuel efficiency, the B9
was seen as a viable replacement for the DC-10 and the Lockheed L-1011
TriStar trijets. It was also considered as a medium-ranged
successor to the A300.
At the same time, a 200-seat four-engine version, the B11 (which would
eventually become the A340) was also under development. The B11
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. To
differentiate from the SA series, the B9 and B11 were re-designated as
the TA9 and TA11, with TA standing for "twin aisle". Development
costs were reduced by the two aircraft using the same fuselage and
wing, with projected savings of US$500 million. Another factor
was the split preference of those within
Airbus and, more importantly,
those of prospective customers; twinjets were favoured in North
America, quad-jets desired in Asia, and operators had mixed views in
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. As a result, development plans prioritised the
four-engined TA11 ahead of the TA9.
The first specifications for the TA9 and TA11, aircraft that could
accommodate 410 passengers in a one-class layout, emerged in 1982.
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
Lockheed L-1011 TriStar or DC-10, and 8.46 metres (27.8 ft)
longer than the
Airbus A300. 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
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. The two TAs would use the vertical
stabiliser, rudder, and circular fuselage sections of the A300-600,
extended by two barrel sections.
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, but the
feature was rejected because of cost and difficulty of
development. A true laminar flow wing (a low-drag shape that
improves fuel efficiency) was also considered but rejected.
With necessary funding available, the
Airbus Supervisory Board
approved the development of the A330 and
A340 with potential customers
on 27 January 1986. Its chairman
Franz Josef Strauß
Franz Josef Strauß stated
afterwards that "
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 and 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
Lufthansa and Swissair.
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.
GE Aviation first offered
the CF6-80C2. However, later studies indicated that more thrust was
needed to increase the initial power capability from 267 to
289 kN (60,000 to 65,000 lbf). GE enlarged the CF6-80C2
fan from 236 to 244 centimetres (92.9 to 96.1 in) to create the
CF6-80E1, increasing the thrust to 300–320 kN
Trent 700 uses an exhaust mixer
Pratt & Whitney's
PW4000 has an unmixed exhaust
GE CF6 adds a conic core exhaust nozzle
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, the Trent 700, with a larger diameter and
311 kN (69,900 lbf) of thrust. The A330 was the first
Airbus aircraft on which Rolls-Royce supplied engines.
Similarly, Pratt & Whitney signed an agreement that covered the
development of the A330-only PW4168. The company increased the fan
size to augment power, enabling the engine to deliver 311 kN
(69,900 lbf) of thrust.
Production and testing
In preparation for the production of the A330 and A340, Airbus's
partners invested heavily in new facilities. In England, BAe made a
£7 million investment in a three-storey technical centre with
15,000 m2 (161,000 sq ft) of floor area at Filton.
BAe also spent £5 million on a new production line at its
Broughton wing production plant. In Germany,
Messerschmitt-Bölkow-Blohm (MBB) invested DM400 million
($225 million) on manufacturing facilities in the
including at Bremen, Einswarden, Varel, and Hamburg. France saw
the biggest investments, with
Aérospatiale constructing a new
Fr.2.5 billion ($411 million) final-assembly plant adjacent
Toulouse-Blagnac Airport in Colomiers; by November 1988, the
pillars for the new
Clément Ader assembly hall had been erected.
The assembly process featured increased automation, such as robots
drilling holes and installing fasteners during the wing-to-fuselage
Final assembly area for the A330, next to Toulouse-Blagnac Airport
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
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 and A340
programmes by 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.
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. The German
and French governments also provided funding.
subcontracts to companies in Australia, Austria, Canada, China,
Greece, Italy, India, Japan, South Korea, Portugal, the United States,
and the former Yugoslavia. With funding in place,
the A330 and
A340 programmes 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 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; BAe
engineers later resolved the problem. At the 1992 Farnborough
Airshow, Northwest deferred delivery of sixteen A330s to 1994,
following the cancellation of its
A330-300 interior, economy class
The first completed A330 was rolled out on 14 October 1992, with the
maiden flight following on 2 November. Weighing 181,840 kg
(401,000 lb), including 20,980 kg (46,300 lb) of test
equipment, the A330 became the biggest twinjet to have flown,
until the later first flight of the Boeing 777. The flight lasted five
hours and fifteen minutes during which speed, height, and other flight
configurations were tested.
Airbus intended the test flight programme
to comprise 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
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 500 kg (1,100 lb) under
On 30 June 1994, a fatal crash occurred during certification of the
Pratt & Whitney engine when an A330 crashed near Toulouse.
Both pilots and the five passengers died. 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. Shortly after takeoff,
the pilots had difficulty setting the autopilot, and the aircraft lost
speed and crashed. An investigation by an internal branch of
Direction Generale d'Aviation concluded that the accident resulted
from slow response and incorrect actions by the crew during the
recovery. This led to a revision of A330 operating procedures.
Entry into service
Air Inter A330-300: two engines instead of four and
the absence of a centre-line wheel bogie are the main differences with
Air Inter became the first operator of the A330, 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 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
Taipei and Seoul.
Cathay Pacific received its
Trent 700 A330s following the
certification of that engine on 22 December 1994. MAS received its
A330 on 1 February 1995 and then rescheduled its other ten orders.
Airbus intended the A330 to compete in the Extended-range Twin-engine
Operation Performance Standards (ETOPS) market, specifically with the
Boeing 767. (
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
ETOPS approval on the A330 using in-service
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. 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.[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. In November
2009, the A330 became the first aircraft to receive ETOPS–240
approval, which has since been offered by
Airbus as an option.
GE90 was only one of three
B777 options and GE Aviation
Brian H. Rowe would have paid for the development of putting
it on an A330, but Airbus' strategy for long-haul was the four-engine
A340, missing the market favouring twins.
Air China A330-243 taking off from Munich Airport.
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. Known as the A329 and A330M10 during development, the
A330-200 would offer nine per cent lower operating costs than the
Boeing 767-300ER. The plane was aimed at the 11,900 km
(6,430 nmi; 7,390 mi) sector, where
Airbus predicted demand
for 800 aircraft between 1995 and 2015. The project, with
US$450 million in expected development costs, was approved by the
Airbus Industrie Supervisory Board on 24 November 1995.
The A330-200 first flew on 13 August 1997. The sixteen-month
certification process involved logging 630 hours of test flights.
The A330-200's first customer was ILFC; these aircraft were leased by
Canada 3000, who became the type's first operator.
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. On 4 January of 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. Consequently, operators
were advised to disable electrical pumps in January 1997.
The freighter variant, the A330-200F, debuts at the Singapore Airshow
Responding to lagging A300-600F and A310F sales,
Airbus A330-200F, a freighter derivative of the
A330-200, around 2001. The freighter has a range of 7,400 km
(4,000 nmi; 4,600 mi) with a 65 tonnes (140,000 lb)
payload, or 5,900 km (3,200 nmi; 3,700 mi) with 70
tonnes (150,000 lb). The plane utilises the same nosegear as
the passenger version, however it is attached lower in the fuselage
and housed in a distinctive bulbous "blister fairing". This raises the
aircraft's nose so that the cargo deck is level during loading, as the
standard A330's landing gear results the plane having a nose-down
attitude while on the ground.
The A330-200F made its maiden flight on 5 November 2009. 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 Cargo, in July 2010.
On 25 September 2013 at the Aviation Expo China (Beijing Airshow),
Airbus announced a new lower weight A330-300 variant, optimised for
use on domestic and regional routes in high growth markets with large
populations and concentrated traffic flows; China and India were
recognised as prime targets. This variant could carry up to 400
passengers. The increased efficiency, however, comes more from the
installation of more seats than any weight reduction. On relatively
short, yet congested routes, the A330 competes against single-aisle
jetliners. While the A330's operating costs in these conditions are
not far above those of the Boeing 737 or
Airbus A321, the A320neo and
737 MAX promise more efficiency. Where the frequency of flights cannot
be increased, using larger aircraft, such as the A330, is the only
available option to increase capacity. The first customer for the
A330 Regional was announced as
Saudia at the 2015 Paris Air Show.
First flight of A330-900neo on 19 October 2017
A330neo ("neo" for "New Engine Option") is a development from the
initial A330 (now A330ceo - "Current Engine Option"). A new version
with modern engines developed for the
Boeing 787 was called for by
owners of the current A330. It was launched in July 2014 at the
Farnborough Airshow, promising 14% better fuel economy per seat. It
will use exclusively the larger Rolls-Royce Trent 7000. Its two
versions are based on the A330-200 and -300: the -800 should cover
7,500 nmi (13,900 km) with 257 passengers while the -900 should
cover 6,550 nmi (12,130 km) with 287 passengers. The -900 took
its first flight from Toulouse on 19 October 2017. The -800 should
be introduced in summer 2018.
In service engine shutdowns
Several in-flight shutdowns of Trent 700–powered A330-300s occurred.
On 11 November 1996, engine failure on a
Cathay Pacific flight forced
it back to Ho Chi Minh City. On 17 April 1997, Cathay Pacific's
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, due to a
bearing failure in a Hispano-Suiza-built gearbox. Three days later, a
Cathay Pacific A330 on climbout during a Bangkok–Hong Kong flight
experienced an oil pressure drop and a resultant engine spool down,
forcing a return to Bangkok. The cause was traced to metal
contamination in the engine's master chip. Following a fifth
engine failure on 23 May,
Cathay Pacific and
grounded their A330 fleets for two weeks, causing major disruption as
Cathay's eleven A330s made up fifteen per cent of its passenger
capacity. Rolls-Royce and
Hispano-Suiza developed a redesigned
lubrication system to resolve the problem.
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. Production increased to 10
aircraft per month in April 2013, the highest for an
aircraft. In 2012,
Airbus expected the A330 to continue selling
until at least 2020, with the
A350-900 expected to replace the
On 19 July 2013,
Airbus delivered the 1000th A330 to Cathay
Pacific. It is the first
Airbus wide-body airliner to reach 1,000
deliveries, and the fourth wide-body to achieve the milestone after
the Boeing 747, 767 and 777. As of September 2017, a total of
1,482 A330ceos had been ordered, with 1,368 delivered.
In December 2014,
Airbus announced that it would reduce A330
production to nine aircraft per month from ten, because of falling
Airbus did not rule out further production cuts. The
announcement led to an immediate drop in
Airbus Group's stock price
because the company derives a significant percentage of its cash flow
and net profit from the A330 program; the A330's financial impact is
magnified amid problems in the A350 and A380 programs. In February
Airbus announced another production rate cut to six aircraft per
month beginning in the first quarter of 2016. This extends A330ceo
production to July 2017, allowing for a smooth transition to A330neo
production, which is set to start in Spring 2017. In February
Airbus announced, that it will re-increase the production rate
from 6 to 7 per month, as response to new A330 orders.
Cyprus Airways A330-200, showing the long slender wing
The A330 is a medium-size, wide-body airliner, with two engines
suspended on pylons under the wings. A two-wheel nose undercarriage
and two four-wheel bogie main legs built by
Messier-Dowty support the
airplane on the ground. Its MTOW grew from 212 tonnes
(467,000 lb) at introduction to 242 tonnes (534,000 lb) in
2015, enhancing its payload-range performance. John Leahy states
it was intentionally being held down in takeoff weight and performance
Airbus avoided overlapping with the A340.
The airframe of the A330 features a low-wing cantilever monoplane with
a wing virtually identical to that of the A340. On the A330-300 one
engine is installed at the inboard pylon while the outboard pylon
position is not used, while for the A340-300 both engine pylons are
used, which allows the A340-300 wing to sustain a higher (wing
limited) MTOW. This is as the A340's two engines at each wing provide
a more equal force distribution (engine weight) over the wing, while
also the total engine weight counteracting moment is located more
outboard with more engine weight located further outboard on the wing,
hence the wing root bending moment with equal TOW is less on the
A340-300 than on the A330-300. 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.[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. 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. For comparison, the rival MD-11 has a
thickness-to-chord ratio of 8–9 per cent. Each wing also has a
2.74 m (8.99 ft) tall winglet instead of the wingtip fences
found on earlier
The shared wing design with the
A340 allowed the A330 to incorporate
aerodynamic features developed for the former aircraft. 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. Originally designed with a 56 m (180 ft)
span, the wing was later extended to 58.6 m (190 ft) and
finally to 60.3 m (200 ft). At 60.3 m
(200 ft), the wingspan is similar to that of the larger Boeing
747–200, but with 35 percent less wing area.
A340 cockpit used the A320's six-screen design.
The A330 and
A340 fuselage is based on that of the
with many common parts, and has the same external and cabin width:
5.64 m (19 ft) and 5.28 m (17 ft).
Typical seating arrangements are 2–2–2 six-abreast in business
class and 2–4–2 eight-abreast in economy class. The fin,
rudder, elevators, horizontal tail plane are used as fuel tank, flaps,
ailerons and spoilers are made of composite materials, making 10% of
the structure weight When necessary, the A330 uses the Honeywell
331–350C auxiliary power unit (APU) to provide pneumatics and
The A330 shares the same glass cockpit flight deck layout as the A320
and A340, featuring electronic instrument displays rather than
mechanical gauges. Instead of a conventional control yoke, the
flight deck features side-stick controls, six main displays, and the
Electronic Flight Instrument System
Electronic Flight Instrument System (EFIS), which covers navigation
and flight displays, as well as the 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
A350, and the A380. It also features three primary and two secondary
flight control systems, as well as a flight envelope limit protection
system which prevents manoeuvres from exceeding the aircraft's
aerodynamic and structural limits.
With launch of
Airbus A330neo, the existing members of the
family (A330-200, 200F, 300, and MRTT) received the
("current engine option") name.
The initial variant, an A330-300 of Cathay Pacific, its largest
Powered by two General Electric CF6-80E1, Pratt & Whitney PW4000,
Rolls-Royce Trent 700
Rolls-Royce Trent 700 engines, the 63.69 m (208 ft
11 in) long −300 has a range of 11,750 km / 6,350 nmi,
typically carries 277 passengers with a 440 exit limit and 32 LD3
containers. It received European and American certification on 21
October 1993 after 420 test flights over 1,100 hours. The −300
entered service on 16 January 1994. The A330-300 is based on a
stretched A300 fuselage but with new wings, stabilisers and
Airbus offered a new version of the −300 with the maximum
gross weight increased by two tonnes to 235 t. This enabled
120 nmi extension of the range as well as 1.2 t increase in
payload. In mid-2012,
Airbus proposed another increase of the
maximum gross weight to 240 t. It is planned to be implemented by
mid-2015. This −300 version will have the range extended by
400 nmi and will carry 5 t more payload. It will include engine
and aerodynamic improvements reducing its fuel burn by about 2%.
In November 2012, it was further announced that the gross weight will
increase from 235 t to 242 t, and the range will increase by
500 nmi or 926 km or 575 mi to 6,100 nmi
(11,300 km; 7,020 mi).
Airbus is also planning to activate
the central fuel tank for the first time for the −300 model.
As of September 2017, 786 -300s had been ordered, 715 of which had
been delivered, with 694 in operation. The 2015 list price is
$253.7 million. The closest competitors have been the Boeing
777-200/200ER, and the now out-of-production McDonnell Douglas
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 240 tonnes (530,000 lb), 7 tonnes (15,000 lb)
greater than the −300's weight at the time. The version would have a
strengthened wing and additional fuel capacity from a 41,600-litre
(11,000 US gal) centre section fuel tank. The A330-300HGW's
range was increased to over 11,000 km (5,940 nmi;
6,840 mi). Among those that showed interest was leasing company
ILFC, which sought airliners that could fly from the US West Coast to
Power was to be supplied by all three engines offered to A330-200 and
A330-300 with lower gross weight.
Airbus also considered using the new
Engine Alliance GP7000
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. However, the -300HGW programme was
not launched and quietly disappeared.
The 240-tonne A330 reappear years later when
Airbus announced at the
Farnborough Airshow that it would be an available option for both
the A330-300 and the A330-200. In November 2012, the maximum
take off weight was further increased to 242 tonnes; the first of
these aircraft was to enter service with
Delta Air Lines
Delta Air Lines in Q2
In September 2013,
Airbus announced a version of the A330-300, named
A330 Regional or A330-300 Regional. The A330 Regional have seating for
up to around 400 passengers, with reduced engine thrust, reduced
maximum takeoff weight of 199 t (439,000 lb) and reduced
range of 2,700 nautical miles (5,000 km; 3,110 mi). It is
said that the maximum takeoff weight of these aircraft is an "easy
upgrade to 242 t (534,000 lb)", which is the extended range
version with range of 6,350 nmi (11,800 km;
7,310 mi). It is said to provide up to
26% lower operating costs than the longer range version A330-300.
On August 18, 2016,
Airbus delivered the first A330 Regional to
The -200 is 4.85 m (15.9 ft) shorter than the -300, China
Eastern is its largest operator
The A330-200 is a shortened, longer-range variant, which entered
service in 1998 with Korean Air. Typical range with 253 passengers in
a three-class configuration is 13,400 km (7,240 nmi;
8,330 mi). 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 (40.9 in). 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 tonnes
(507,000 lb). 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.
Airbus also boosted fuel capacity to 139,100 L
(36,700 US gal) by adding the centre section fuel tank,
standard in the A340.
A new vertical stabilizer was introduced in 2004 beginning with MSN
555. This newer fin is shorter in height by 50 cm
(20 in) and was derived from the design of the vertical
stabilizer of the A340-500 and -600, later becoming standard on all
Airbus released plans for a higher gross weight version of
the A330-200 to more effectively compete against the Boeing 787
Dreamliner. The new-build A330-200HGW had a 5 tonne increase in
Maximum Takeoff Weight, allowing a 560 kilometres (302 nmi;
348 mi) range increase and a 3.4 tonnes (7,500 lb) payload
Korean Air became the first customer on 27
February 2009 with an order for six −200HGWs. Deliveries of the
first aircraft started in 2010.
Airbus proposed another version of the −200 with the
maximum gross weight increased by 2 t to 240 t. This version had its
range extended by 270 nmi and carried 2.5 t more payload. It saw
engine and aerodynamic improvements reducing its fuel burn by about
2%. In November 2012, it was announced that the gross weight was to be
further increased to 242 t with the range extended by 350 nmi
over the 238 t version. It was certified by the EASA on 8
As of September 2017, 654 of the −200 had been ordered, 615 of which
had been delivered, with 604 aircraft in operation. The 2015 list
price is $229 million. The −200 competes with the Boeing
767-300ER and to a lesser extent the 767-400ER as well as with
new 787 Dreamliner.
The A330-200 is also available as an ultra-long-range corporate jet as
the A330-200 Prestige.
The bulge under the A330-200F nose corrects the inherent nose-down
attitude of passenger versions.
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; 4,600 mi) or 70 tonnes (150,000 lb) up to
5,900 km (3,200 nmi; 3,700 mi). 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. 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
As of September 2017,
Airbus had delivered 38 aircraft with four
unfilled orders. The list price is $237 million. As well as
Airbus has proposed passenger-to-freighter
conversions of existing −200 airliners. The A330-200F is sized
between the 767-300F and 777F, but trails both Boeing models
in orders and deliveries.
A330 Converted Freighter
Airbus announced plans for a passenger-to-freighter program
with ST Aerospace. The A330-300 and −200 are to be part of the P2F
program with the −300 to come first and the −200 to follow a year
later. Conversion work will be done mainly in Dresden, Germany.
EgyptAir Cargo was the launch customer for -200 P2F. Qatar
Airways has already showed interest in the program. The aircraft
is entered service in 2016. The A330-300P2F variant has a payload of
60 tonnes with the range of 2,200 nautical miles (4,000 km) or 61
tonnes with the range of 3,600 nautical miles (6,600 km) for the
higher MTOW variants. The A330-200P2F will carry the payload of up to
59 tons on ranges up to 4,000 nautical miles (7,400 km).
Airbus estimates the market demand for the conversions at 900 units
during the next 20 years.
Airbus A330-800neo will retain the fuselage length of the
A330-200, with cabin optimisation allowing up to six additional
seats. It will feature new
Rolls-Royce Trent 7000
Rolls-Royce Trent 7000 engines with a
10:1 bypass delivering 320 kN (72,000 lbf), improved
aerodynamics including A350-style winglets increasing the span by 3.7m
to 64m, and is scheduled to enter service in early 2018. It
should cover 7500 nm (13,900 km) with 257 passengers (406
Airbus A330-900neo will keep the A330-300 fuselage with 10
more seats thanks to cabin optimisation. With the same engine and
wing improvements, it should burn 14% less fuel per seat than the
A330-300 on a 4,000 nmi flight. It should travel 6550 nm
(12,130 km) with 287 passengers (440 max).
Airbus has started design of a replacement aircraft for the Beluga in
November 2014: the
Beluga XL based on the
Airbus A330 MRTT
A team of engineering personnel assembled in front of an A330 MRTT
converted from an A330-200 by Iberia Spanish Airlines Maintenance
Airbus A330 MRTT is the Multi-Role Transport and Tanker (MRTT)
version of the A330-200, designed for aerial refuelling and strategic
transport. As of November 2014[update], 46 total orders have
been placed for the A330 MRTT by the air forces of Australia, France,
Saudi Arabia, Singapore, the United Arab Emirates, and the United
Northrop Grumman KC-45
EADS/Northrop Grumman KC-45
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. 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 because of its lower cost.
Airbus evaluated a 12-frame stretch which would be able to
carry 380 passengers over almost 7,000 km (3,800 nmi), the
-400, and a "super-stretch" using the A340-600's 22-frame stretch and
powered by 400 kN (90,000 lbf) engines, the -600.
In February 2000, the 250-seat A330-100 replacement for the A300/A310
could be launched by year end for 2003 deliveries. Shortened and
keeping its fly-by-wire cockpit and systems, with a cleaner A300-600
wing with sealed control surfaces and winglets and at least two new
engine types among the GE CF6-80, the
PW4000 and the A340-500/600's
Trent 500 aimed for 5% better SFC than the A300-600. Its
44.8 m (147 ft) wing allowed a 173 t (381,000 lb)
MTOW and 4,200 nmi (7,770 km) range. In May, the 210-260
seat design had evolved towards keeping the A330 60.3m (200ft) span
wing and engines for a 195t MTOW and 4,500nmi (8,325km) range.
Interested customers included Singapore Airlines,
Announced in July at Farnborough Air Show, the -500 first flight was
targeted for early 2003 and introduction in early 2004. ILFC would
take 10 if it was launched and CIT was interested too. The eight-frame
shrink would carry 222 in three classes or 266 in two classes. Its
initial 13,000km (7,000nm) range would be followed by derated versions
for 8,000km (4,350nm). The market was lukewarm as airline like
Lufthansa, Hapag-Lloyd or
Singapore Airlines were unimpressed by the
long-range A330-500, favouring a more refined short-range design. Lack
of airline demand made lessors interest wane and as ILFC would order
as 30 -500s, it would be with converting rights to larger
Airbus A350 XWB
To compete with Boeing's 7E7 (later 787),
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 202 tonnes (445,000 lb), coupled with de-rated
engines, giving a range of 7,400 km (4,000 nmi;
4,600 mi). It was aimed at Singapore Airlines, who had
looked to replace its
Airbus A310-300s. The variant was also
to be a replacement for
Airbus A300-600Rs and early Boeing 767s.
Airlines, however, were not satisfied with the compromised aircraft;
the company instead proceeded with an entirely new aircraft, the A350
Main article: List of
Airbus A330 operators
TAM Linhas Aereas
TAM Linhas Aereas
Airbus A330-200 powered by PW4168
As of Dectember 2017, there are 1,358 examples of all A330 variants in
airline service, comprising 619 A330-200s, 38 -200Fs, and 733
-300s. The airline operators are
Turkish Airlines (64), Air China
China Eastern Airlines
China Eastern Airlines (57),
China Southern Airlines
China Southern Airlines (45), Delta
Air Lines (42), and other operators with fewer aircraft.
In November 2017, 1,190 are transporting passenger with 106 airlines,
with the top 29 operating two-thirds of the fleet, 800 aircraft: 530
-200s and 660 A330-300s, mainly high-gross-weight with 36 original
shorter-range A330-300s, half of them built since January 2010. Its
average sector is 2,000 nmi (3,700 km) and their longest
flight is 6,000 nmi (11,000 km) from Buenos Aires to Rome by
Aerolineas Argentinas for the -200, and 5,000 nmi (9,300 km)
from Paris to Reunion by Corsair and French Blue for the -300. Of
operators of at least five A330s, 17 have ordered A350-900s, 11 have
ordered B787-8/9s, 13 both, 3 have ordered A330neos and 2 both
A330neos and A350s, and 14 haven't yet decided a replacement.
Orders and deliveries
Main article: List of
Airbus A330 orders and deliveries
Table doesn't include
A330neo orders and deliveries. Data
through end of December 2017
Accidents and incidents
For a more comprehensive list, see List of accidents and incidents
As of June 2017, the
Airbus A330 had been involved in 28 major
aviation occurrences, including 11 confirmed hull-loss
accidents and two hijackings, for a total of 339 fatalities.
The type's first fatal accident occurred on 30 June 1994 near Toulouse
on a test flight when an Airbus-owned A330-300 crashed while
simulating an engine failure on climbout, killing all seven on
Airbus subsequently advised A330 operators to disconnect
the autopilot and limit pitch attitude in the event of an engine
failure at low speed.
On 15 March 2000, a
Malaysia Airlines A330-300 suffered structural
damage due to leaking oxalyl chloride, a corrosive chemical substance
that had been improperly labeled before shipping. The aircraft was
The vertical stabilizer recovered from
Air France Flight 447
The type's second fatal accident, and first while in commercial
service, occurred on 1 June 2009 when
Air France Flight 447, an
A330-200 en route from
Rio de Janeiro
Rio de Janeiro to Paris with 228 people on
board, crashed in the Atlantic Ocean 640–800 km
(350–430 nmi) northeast of the islands of Fernando de
Noronha, with no survivors. Malfunctioning pitot tubes provided
an early focus for the investigation, as the aircraft involved
had Thales-built "–AA" models known to record faulty airspeed data
during icing conditions. In July 2009,
Airbus advised A330 and
A340 operators to replace Thales pitots with equivalents manufactured
by Goodrich. Investigators later determined that the inadequate
response of the pilots to both a loss of airspeed data from
malfunctioning pitot tubes and subsequent autopilot disengagement
resulted in Flight 447 entering into an aerodynamic stall. In
Air Caraïbes reported two incidents of pitot tube icing
malfunctions on its A330s.
On 12 May 2010, Afriqiyah Airways Flight 771, an A330-200, crashed on
approach to Tripoli International Airport, Libya, on a flight from OR
Tambo International Airport, Johannesburg, South Africa. Of the 104
people on board, all but one nine-year-old Dutch boy died. The
cause of the crash was determined to be pilot error.
The two hijackings involving the A330 have resulted in one
fatality, namely the hijacker of Philippine Airlines Flight 812
on 25 May 2000, who jumped out of the aircraft to his death. The
hijacking of Sabena Flight 689 on 13 October 2000 ended with no
casualties when Spanish police took control of the aircraft. On
24 July 2001, two unoccupied
SriLankan Airlines A330s were destroyed
amid an attack on Bandaranaike International Airport, in Colombo, Sri
Lanka, by the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam. On 25
December 2009, passengers and crew subdued a man who attempted to
detonate explosives in his underwear on an A330-300 operating
Northwest Airlines Flight 253.
Two A330 incidents due to in-flight malfunctions were survived by all
on board. On 24 August 2001, Air Transat Flight 236, an A330-200,
developed a fuel leak over the Atlantic Ocean due to an incorrectly
installed hydraulic part and was forced to glide for over 15 minutes
to an emergency landing in the Azores. On 7 October 2008, Qantas
Flight 72, an A330-300, suffered a rapid loss of altitude in two
sudden uncommanded pitch-down manoeuvres while 150 km
(81 nmi) from the
RAAF Learmonth air base in northwestern
Australia. After declaring an emergency, the crew landed the aircraft
safely at Learmonth. It was later determined that the incident,
which caused 106 injuries, 14 of them serious, was the result of a
design flaw of the plane's
Air Data Inertial Reference Unit and a
limitation of the aircraft's flight computer software.
On 13 April 2010,
Cathay Pacific Flight 780 from
International Airport to Hong Kong landed safely after both engines
failed due to contaminated fuel. 57 passengers were injured. Its two
pilots received the
Polaris Award from the International Federation of
Air Line Pilots' Associations, for their heroism and airmanship.
On 15 July 2014, a Libyan Airlines A330 was severely damaged in the
fighting in Libya and sustained bullet holes in the fuselage. On 20
July 2014, two Afriqiyah Airways
Airbus A330 were hit by an RPG at
Tripoli International Airport. One was completely destroyed in the
Airbus A330 specifications unless noted
246 (36J @ 60 in + 210Y @ 32 in)
70,000 kg (154,324 lb)
300 (36J @ 60 in + 264Y @ 32 in)
58.82 m (192.98 ft)
63.67 m (208.89 ft)
Wing: 60.3 m (197.83 ft), Main gear: 12.61 m
361.6 m² (3,892 ft²), 25% chord wingsweep : 30°,
10.06 Aspect ratio
17.39m / 57’
16.90m / 55’5’’
16.79m / 55’
5.64 m (222 in) diameter, 5.18 m (204 in) cabin width
0.46 m (18 in) in 8 abreast economy, 0.53 m (21 in) in 6
132.4 m³ (4673 ft³)
469.2 m³ (16567 ft³)
158.4 m³ (5591 ft³)
Maximum takeoff weight
242,000 kg (533,519 lb)
233,000 kg (513,677 lb)
242,000 kg (533,519 lb)
Maximum landing weight
182,000 kg (401,241 lb)
187,000 kg (412,264 lb)
Max zero fuel weight
170,000 kg (374,786 lb)
178,000 kg (392,423 lb)
175,000 kg (385,809 lb)
139,090 l (36,744 US gal) - 109,185 kg (240,711 lb)
Operating empty weight
120,150 -120,750 kg (264,875-266,200 lb)
108000 kg (238099 lb)
121,870-122,780 kg (268,675-270,675 lb)
Mach 0.82 (470 kn; 871 km/h) (Mach 0.86
(493 kn; 914 km/h) MMO), 12,500 m (41,100 ft)
Final approach speed (MLW)
136 kn (252 km/h)
139 kn (257 km/h)
137 kn (254 km/h)
13,450 km / 7,250 nm (247 pax)
7,400 km / 4,000 nm
11,750 km / 6,350 nm (277 pax)
Runway (SL, ISA, MTOW/MLW)
Takeoff: 2,770 m (9,110 ft), Landing: 1,730 m
64,530–68,530 lbf (287–305 kN) General Electric CF6-80E1
64,500–70,000 lbf (287–311 kN) Pratt & Whitney
67,500–71,100 lbf (300–316 kN) Rolls-Royce Trent 700
Aircraft model designations
A330 family schematic
EASA Type Certificate Data Sheet
31 October 2002
General Electric CF6-80E1A2
31 March 1998
General Electric CF6-80E1A4
20 November 2001
General Electric CF6-80E1A3
13 July 1998
Pratt & Whitney PW4168A/4170
9 April 2010
Pratt & Whitney PW4170 (Freighter)
11 January 1999
Rolls-Royce Trent 772B/C-60
9 April 2010
Rolls-Royce Trent 772B-60 (Freighter)
21 October 1993
General Electric CF6-80E1A2
17 May 2004
General Electric CF6-80E1A4
17 May 2004
General Electric CF6-80E1A3
2 June 1994
Pratt & Whitney PW4164
2 June 1994
Pratt & Whitney PW4168
22 April 1999
Pratt & Whitney PW4168A/4170
22 December 1994
Rolls-Royce Trent 768-60
22 December 1994
Rolls-Royce Trent 772-60
13 September 1999
Rolls-Royce Trent 772B/C-60
ICAO Aircraft Type Designators
European Union portal
Airbus and Boeing
Airbus A330 MRTT
Aircraft of comparable role, configuration and era
Boeing 787 Dreamliner
List of civil aircraft
List of jet airliners
^ This meant that the
Boeing 777 was certified for 180-minutes ETOPS
from the first day of service. As a result, the aircraft could be
180 minutes (3 hours) of flying time from a diversionary
airport during transoceanic services.
^ After a total of 25,000 airborne hours, the A330 would be allowed a
maximum of 120 minutes (2 hours) of flight time from a
diversionary airport. After 50,000 hours, the limit would be raised to
180 minutes (3 hours).
^ The higher the aspect ratio, the greater the aerodynamic
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