Airbus A330neo

Airbus A330neo (neo – New Engine Option) is a twin-engine wide-body airliner developed by Airbus based on the A330 model. The new generation of liners brought a lot of technical innovations, first of all, the aircraft will be re-cut and equipped with new Rolls Royce Trent 7000 engines.

In 2004, the American company Boeing officially announced the project 7E7. The objective of this program was to create the latest long-range liner, which later became the Boeing 787 Dreamliner.

To ensure competitive parity for the new project from overseas, Airbus has initiated work to deeply modernize its A330 airliner. However, market research and airline reviews have shown that the updated aircraft will not be able to fully compete with the new Boeing. After much debate and research, it was also decided to create a completely new aircraft – the now-flying Airbus A350 XWB.

After the launch of the A320neo program in 2010, calculations on the economy and efficiency of the remoter mid-range liner showed excellent results. Based on these findings, some airlines proposed to carry out a similar modernization of the A330, with the implementation of previously canceled plans.

Among the advantages of the A330neo, marketers note that airlines, having ordered this aircraft, will be able to get it faster, its catalog price is lower, and on flights of not very long range, the aircraft can compete with the Boeing 787, optimized for long-distance flights. At the same time, to exclude competition within its lineup, Airbus stopped working on a smaller version of the A350-800 in favor of the upgraded younger model.

Modernization also managed to reduce the cost. About 95% of the structural elements of the new aircraft were inherited from the base A330, most of the new technologies have already been developed on the A350, and several works are being implemented simultaneously on the A330neo and on the upgraded A380plus, which should appear by 2020 (although motorization is not planned for the flagship yet).

At the 2014 Farnborough Airshow, Airbus officially announced the A330neo program.

The new powerplant is the Rolls-Royce Trent 7000 engines. These engines are an evolution of the Trent 1000 family used on the Boeing 787, using some Airbus A350 powertrain technologies. The diameter of the engine intake is 112 inches (2.8 meters), which is almost 40 cm more than the old ones – 97 inches. The thrust of the engines will increase slightly and will go into the range of 30.6-32.6 ft each.

Initially, it was assumed that the aircraft would have the option of choosing between the Rolls-Royce Trent 1000 and General Electric GEnx-1B. However, Rolls-Royce offered Airbus special conditions for exclusive supply. Also, the lack of the need to adapt the aircraft for two engines reduced costs by about $ 100 million. As a result, the Trent 7000 is the only engine for the aircraft soon.

This practice has not been unique lately. A similar question arose with Boeing when choosing a power plant promising Boeing 777-X. And there General Electric with its GE9X was chosen as the exclusive supplier.

Fuel consumption in the calculation of more than one passenger seat will be reduced by 12-15% (plus 2% when installing new wingtips – sharklets with a length of 3.7 meters), and the flight range is increased by about 740 kilometers. At the same time, the optimization of the liner design will reduce airline maintenance costs.

The interior of the liner is also significantly modernized. Airbus has introduced a new Space-Flex configuration that optimizes interior space. Elements of this scheme are already being used on the new liners of the concern. Interior optimization will add 10 seats in version 900 and 6 seats in version 800.

The cockpit will receive new equipment and will be significantly unified with the A350.

In total, it is planned to spend about $ 2 billion on the development and preparation of production. During the life cycle of the project, the concern plans to sell about 1,000 airliners. Airbus targets the mid-haul segment with heavy passenger traffic (part of this market is occupied by the aging Boeing 767 and Airbus A330 airliners of the previous generation).

In the fall of 2015, Airbus began production of the first elements of the new airliner. The assembly of the A330-900neo prototype began in Toulouse in 2016. Already in December, the plane was painted, but the Trent 7000 engines received only six months later. Engines have caused shifts in terms of ship shipments. It is assumed that the starting customer – the Portuguese TAP Portugal will receive the first ship in the third quarter of 2018 – six months later than the original plan.

The liner made its first test flight on October 19, 2017. In parallel with the -900 model, the concern is assembling the younger model A330-800neo, work on which began in early autumn 2017. It is assumed that in certification tests, during which 3 airliners will have to fly off 1,400 hours, they will end in mid-2018 by receiving an EASA certificate.

The NEO generation involves the creation of two airliners: A330-800 and A330-900. These aircraft will receive fuselages, the length of which will correspond to the old models A330-200 and A330-300.

Version -800 will be able to carry 257 passengers (with a limit of 406 people) to a distance of 13,900 km, while the older version 900 will accommodate 287 passengers (with a limit of 400) to a distance of 12,130 km.

The fuselage of the model is -900 4.84 meters long. At the same time, to increase the flight stability of the shortened version -800, its keel was made 60 cm higher. With different dimensions and passenger capacity, the liners have the same maximum take-off weight.

At the time of the first flight, the A330neo has a portfolio of orders for 212 aircraft from 11 airlines and leasing organizations. Largest customer: Malaysian low-cost airline Air Asia X, specializing in long-distance transportation, ordered 66 aircraft. The second-largest customer was Iran Air – 28 aircraft. In Russia, Transaero ordered 12 aircraft, but this contract was canceled due to the bankruptcy of the airline. In 2015, it was officially announced that the first airline to accept the A330neo fleet would be the Portuguese TAP Portugal.

Interestingly, almost all orders fall on the older model A330-900. The -800 model was ordered only by Hawaiian Airlines – 6 pieces. Perhaps the reason for this is the main advantage of the new aircraft – large capacity and efficiency at short distances – the -900 model makes the most of this trump card.

For 2017, all A330 models have orders for 363 aircraft. With a production plan of 66 aircraft per year, the Toulouse plant has already been loaded for the next 5 years.

Specifications

  • Modification: A330-900neo
  • Wingspan, m: 64.00
  • Aircraft Length, m: 63.66
  • The height of the aircraft, m: 16.79
  • Wing Area, m2: 136.00
  • Weight kg: empty equipped aircraft 181000; maximum take-off 242900
  • Engine type: 2 turbofan engine Rolls-Royce Trent 7000
  • Rod, kN: 2 x 320
  • Maximum speed, km / h: 918
  • Cruising speed, km / h: 900
  • Practical range, km: 12130
  • Crew: 2
  • Payload 287 passengers in a three-class configuration or 440 passengers maximum
Graduated from Embry-Riddle Aviation University with a master's degree in aviation science. He began his career as an aviation researcher in local periodicals. Has a pilot license. Now are the author and developer of the Plane Worlds.