Airbus A330 is a medium wide-body jet airplane manufactured by Airbus. The aircraft can accommodate up to 335 passengers in a two-class layout or carry up to 70 tonnes (154,000 lb) of cargo. It made its first flight on November 2nd, 1992 and has undergone major revamp in design ever since.
A330 is designed to be a wide-body, medium-haul aircraft. It is part of derivative effort from the original A300 model. It was seen as a viable replacement for the DC-10 and Lockheed L-1011 trijet.
Its design is quite similar to A340, with wings virtually identical to A340.
Cockpit and Avionics
The cockpit layout of Airbus A330 is the same as A320 and A340. Similar to other Airbus models, this one also features side-stick controls rather than flight control yoke.
A330 uses an APU made by Honeywell, model number 331-350C for pneumatics and electrical power.
The wings were designed and manufactured by BAe and swept back at 30 degrees. They also have 9.0 ft (2.74 m) tall winglet (instead of wingtip fences).
The Airbus A330 received certifications from European Joint Aviation Authorities (JAA) and US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) simultaneously on October 21st, 1993.
Maximum seating of 375 people can be obtained with three “Type A” and one “Type 1” door installed.
The A330-200 is the shortened, longer-range variant of A330. It entered service in 1998 with Korean Air.
- Range: 13,400 km (7,240 nmi; 8,330 mi)
- Length: 58.82 m (193 ft 0 in)
- MTOW: 229.8 tonnes (507,000 lb)
- Engine types: GE CF6-80E, Pratt & Whitney PW4000, Rolls-Royce Trent 700
- Fuel Capacity: 139,100 L, (36,700 US gal)
Note: A330-200HGW has increased MTOW by additional 5 tonnes, enabling 560 km range increase and 3.4 tonnes payload increase.
Airbus A330-300 is the first variant for A330. This variant is used by Malaysia Airlines. One of the aircraft, 9M-MKB, has a hull-loss incident due to corrosive chemical leak accident that occurred during a flight on March 15th, 2000.
A330-800neo & 900neo
Refer main article: Airbus A330neo Airliner
The New Engine Option (neo) variant of A330 is one of the most anticipated variants of A330 in development. It burns 14% less fuel compared to A330-300 on per seat basis. Besides, it will also have 10 more seats, thanks to interior reconfiguration. This variant will enter the market in 2017 with AirAsia X as its launch customer.
Airbus planes to use the new Rolls-Royce Trent 7000 engines. The engines will provide a thrust of 72,000 lbf with 10:1 bypass ratio.
Orders and deliveries data
AirAsia X has placed a firm order of 55 A330neo. Originally, the company ordered 50 of them during Farnborough Airshow in July but recently they have confirmed the order, together with the addition of 5 more aircraft (source). The list price of the orders is worth about $15 billion. AirAsia X will be the launch customer for A330neo.
Malaysia Airlines has a number of Airbus A330 aircraft in its fleet. Apart from A330, the airlines also has Airbus A380 and Boeing 777s for its wide-body segment of the fleet. Recently, it has refitted its Business Class seats onboard the aircraft for better comfort and functionality.
There have been quite a number of accidents involving Airbus A330. As of August 2014:
- 8 hull-loss
- 2 hijackings
- 339 fatalities (total)
On March 15th, 2000, Malaysia Airlines’ Airbus A330-300 aircraft bearing registration number 9M-MKB was involved in a cargo leakage accident. Thus, the aircraft has suffered substantial damage resulting from the leakage. According to an investigation, a corrosive chemical is the cause of the damage. As a result, Malaysia Airlines decides to write-off the aircraft.
Airbus has started development of Beluga replacement. Beluga is a huge freighter by Airbus that can carry odd-sized cargo. It has also been used to carry aircraft parts. It is based on Airbus A330.