During the first day of the Farnborough Airshow in the U.K., Airbus decided to hit hard. At a press conference on July 14th., the European aircraft manufacturer confirmed the launch of two new versions of its A330, namely: the A330-800-neo and A330-900-neo, both 12% less kerosene greedy compared to the existing aircraft. In order to gain market share from its direct competitor, the Boeing 787, the European constructor plans to launch these new versions at the end of 2017.
Fabrice Brégier, Chief Executive Officer – Airbus :
"We are ble to do it in only three and a half years, which is quite new in this business. We are re-engining, we are-modifying the wing, we are optimizing the aerodynamics of this aircraft, in one year and a half less than we do on the A320neo. It's not because we are much better, it's because first of all we start from an existing engine, and so this one is a big de-risking factor."
The A330-neo will be equipped with Rolls-Royce Trent 7000 engines of 2.85 metres ( 9' 4”) diameter. These more economical, and less noisy, new generation engines should be certified in early 2017. On the aerodynamic side, the wingspan will increase from 60 to 64 metres ( 197ft. to 210ft. ), with sharklet wing tips. Finally, the A330-neo will be 800 kilograms ( 1,764 lbs. ) lighter than the current A330, with an increased range of 700 km (435 miles). Arguments which have convinced the Los Angeles based aircraft leasing company, Air Lease Corporation ( A.L.C.).
Steven F. Udvar-Hazy, Chief Executive Officer - Air Lease Corporation :
"We are very honoured to announce that we are the first customer. We signed a memorandum of agreement with Airbus this morning for 25 units which will begin deliveries in 2018 to add to our wide-body lease portfolio."
An order that prefigures others. On the second day, two other companies, Avolon and C.I.T. Group each ordered 15 A330-neo's.
Depending on the version, the A330-neo will accommodate 250 to 310 passengers, a slightly increased seating capacity compared to the current version. Airbus estimates the market to be more than 1,000 aircraft over the next 20 years.