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The Airbus A330 is a large-capacity medium-to-long-range commercial passenger airliner manufactured by Airbus. It was developed at the same time as the four-engined A340.

Arpingstone

Etihad Airways Airbus A330-200 landing at

London (Heathrow) Airport in July 2004

Airbus intended the A330 to compete directly in the ETOPS (Extended Twin-engine Operations) market, which was effectively established by the Boeing 767. The Boeing 777 also belongs to this class; the Boeing 757 shares a heritage with the 767 but lacks the range, and is not wide-bodied.

The A330's fuselage and wings are virtually identical to the A340's, although it has different engines. The A330 basic fuselage design is inherited from the Airbus A300, as is the nose/cockpit section and the fly-by-wire system and flight deck from the Airbus A320.

Variants

There are two variants of the A330: the long fuselage A330-300 measures 63.6 m (208 ft 1 in) in length and can fly up to 10,500 km (5,650 nautical miles). The short fuselage A330-200 measures 59.0 m (193 ft 7 in) in length with an operating range of 12,500 km (6,750 nautical miles).

A330-200

The A330-200 was developed in part to replace the A300-600R and to compete with the Boeing 767-300ER.The A330-200 is a shortened version of the original -300.

Its vertical fin is taller than that of the -300 to restore its effectiveness due to the fuselage shrink. It has additional fuel capacity and has an MTOW of 275 tonnes. Typical range with 253 passengers in a three-class configuration is 12,500 km (6,750 nautical miles).

Power is provided by two General Electric CF6-80E, Pratt & Whitney PW4000 or Rolls-Royce Trent 700 engines. All engines are ETOPS-180 min rated. First customer deliveries, to ILFC/Canada 3000, were in April 1998.

The A330-200 has sold strongly since its launch and has virtually eliminated the Boeing 767 from the marketplace. As a result, Boeing has asked both Rolls Royce and GE to design engines that enable the 787 Dreamliner to be 15% more economical than the A330-200.

The direct Boeing equivalents are the 767-400ER and 787.

Operators of the A330-200 include Aer Lingus, Air France (and KLM), Air Transat, Austrian Airlines, EgyptAir, Emirates, EVA Air, Gulf Air, LTU, Lufthansa, Malaysia Airlines, Northwest Airlines, Qantas, Qatar Airways, Swiss International Air Lines, and TAM Linhas Aéreas.

A330-300

The A330-300 was developed as replacement for the A300. It is based on a stretched A300-600 fuselage but with new wings, stabilizers and new fly-by-wire software.

The A330-300 carries 295 passengers in a three-class cabin layout over a range of 10,500 km (5,650 nautical miles). It has a large cargo capacity, comparable to a Boeing 747. Some airlines run overnight cargo-only flights after daytime passenger services.

It is powered by two General Electric CF6-80E, Pratt & Whitney PW4000 or Rolls-Royce Trent 700 engines. All engines are ETOPS-180 min rated. It entered service in 1993.

The direct Boeing equivalent is the 777-200.

Operators of the A330-300 include Aer Lingus, Air Canada, Air Transat, Asiana Airlines, Cathay Pacific Airways, China Airlines, Dragonair, Garuda Indonesia, Korean Air, Lufthansa, Malaysia Airlines, Northwest Airlines, Philippine Airlines, Qantas, SAS, SN Brussels Airlines, Thai Airways International, and US Airways.

A330 MRTT

The Multi Role Tanker Transport version of the A330-200 provides aerial refuelling and strategic transport. In January 2004 the UK Ministry of Defence announced that the A330 MRTT had been selected to provide air-refuelling for the RAF for the next 30 years under the Future Strategic Tanker Aircraft programme. In this and the Australian contest, announced April 16, 2004, the A330 beat competition from the Boeing 767 AAR derivative. The Royal Australian Air Force has placed an order for 5 A330 MRTT aircraft to replace its ageing fleet of 707s.

The A330 MRTT is also in the running to land a contract from the United States Air Force for perhaps up to 200 tankers to replace aging KC-135 and KC-10 aircraft. If the contract is won, it will required EADS to invest approximately US$600 million in an assembly plant in the United States. Boeing 767 AAR derived tankers were originally selected by the USAF, but following the discovery of a bribery scandal the American government cancelled the Boeing lease and reopened the competition.

A330-200Lite

The A330-200Lite would have contained weight reduction and new engines in an attempt to compete with the 787-9. The concept was extended and renamed as the A350. Singapore Airlines (SIA) is one of several potential customers.

Accident summary

(As of 2005)

  • Hull-loss Accidents: 1 with a total of 7 fatalities
    • On 30 June 1994 an A330 on a test flight crashed shortly after take-off at Toulouse, killing all onboard
  • Other occurrences: 1 with a total of 0 fatalities
  • Hijackings: 2 with a total of 1 fatalities

An A330 performed the world's longest recorded glide with a jet airliner after suffering fuel exhaustion over the Atlantic Ocean. Human error and lack of automated computer checks stopped the crew from realizing the cause of fuel imbalance was leakage via a broken fuel pipe caused by poor maintenance. The plane soared for half an hour and covered 65 nautical miles (120 km) to an emergency landing in the Azores. No one was killed, but the aircraft suffered some structural damage and a lot of blown tires.

Specifications

AIRCRAFT DIMENSIONS

A330-200

A330-300

  Overall length   58.8 m.   63.6 m.  
  Height (to top of horizontal tail)   17.40 m.   16.85 m.  
  Fuselage diameter   5.64 m.   5.64 m.  
  Maximum cabin width   5.28 m.   5.28 m.  
  Cabin length   45.0 m.   50.35 m.  
  Wingspan (geometric)   60.3 m.   60.3 m.  
  Wing area (reference)   361.6 m2   361.6 m2  
  Wing sweep (25% chord)   30 degrees   30 degrees  
  Wheelbase   22.2 m.   25.6 m.  
  Wheel track   10.69 m.   10.69 m.  
BASIC OPERATING DATA
  Engines  

two CF6-80E1 or PW4000

 or RR Trent 700

 

two CF6-80E1 or PW4000

or RR Trent 700

 
  Engine thrust range   303-320 kN   303-320 kN  
  Typical passenger seating   253 (3-class) / 293 (2-class)   295 (3-class) / 335 (2-class)  
  Range (w/max. passengers)   12,500 km.   10,500 km.  
  Max. operating Mach number (Mmo)   0.86 Mo.   0.86 Mo.  
  Bulk hold volume - Standard/option   19.7 / 13.76 m3   19.7 / 13.76 m3  
DESIGN WEIGHTS
  Maximum ramp weight   230.9 (233.9 ) tonnes   230.9 (233.9) tonnes  
  Maximum takeoff weight   230 (233) tonnes   230 (233) tonnes  
  Maximum landing weight   180 (182) tonnes   185 (187) tonnes  
  Maximum zero fuel weight   168 (170) tonnes   173 (175) tonnes  
  Maximum fuel capacity   139,100 Litres   97,170 Litres  
  Typical operating weight empty   119.6 tonnes   122.2 (124.5) tonnes  
  Typical volumetric payload   36.4 tonnes   45.9 tonnes  

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