Airbus A330

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Air Canada Airbus A330-300

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.

Airbus intended the A330 to compete directly in the ETOPS (Extended-range Twin-engine Operation Performance Standards) market, which was 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 flightdeck from the Airbus A320.

By October 2005 a total of 553 A330 had been ordered and 374 delivered.


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).


Etihad Airways Airbus A330-200 landing at London Heathrow Airport

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 effectivness 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, outselling the Boeing 767 by 23 to 9 in 2004. 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 787-9.

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


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

The A330-300 carries 295 passengers in a three-class cabin layout (335 in 2 class and 440 in single class) 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.


The Multi Role Tanker Transport version of the A330-200 provides aerial refueling and strategic transport. In January 2004 the UK Ministry of Defence announced that the A330 MRTT had been selected to provide air-refueling 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. EADS is teamed with Northrop Grumman for the bid. If the contract is won, it will require 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. In early 2006 the United States Congress passed a defence bill which reverses an earlier amendment which barred Airbus from bidding for the contract. [1]

Accident summary

bmi A330-200 queueing for take off at London Heathrow Airport

(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: 3 with a total of 0 fatalities
    • On 24 July 2001, 2 SriLankan Airlines A330-243s were destroyed on the ground by Tamil Tiger guerillas at Colombo-Bandaranayake IAP, Sri Lanka, along with an A320-200, an A340-300 and a squadron of military aircraft. Another two planes, an A320 and an A340 were also damaged but have since been repaired. [2]
    • On 24 August 2001, Air Transat, Flight 236, an A330-243, 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 flew powerless 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 blown tires.
  • Hijackings: 2 with a total of 1 fatality.


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 0.86 M 0.86 M
Bulk hold volume (Standard/option) 19.7 / 13.76 m³ 19.7 / 13.76 m³
Design weights
Maximum ramp weight 230.9 (233.9 ) t 230.9 (233.9) t
Maximum takeoff weight 230 (233) t 230 (233) t
Maximum landing weight 180 (182) t 185 (187) t
Maximum zero fuel weight 168 (170) t 173 (175) t
Maximum fuel capacity 139,100 l 97,170 l
Typical operating weight empty 119.6 t 122.2 (124.5) t
Typical volumetric payload 36.4 t 45.9 t

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