The first Airbus A330 to be delivered to an airline was in January 1994. That airline was French carrier Air Inter, and so began the Airbus response to Boeing dominating the widebody market after their original Airbus A300. The Airbus A330-300 was introduced first, followed by a smaller variant, the A330-200.

Airbus has since evolved the model with updated versions, having enhanced the aerodynamics and upgraded the cabins to provide an aircraft with lower operating costs and improved passenger comfort. With over 1,700 orders, the model can only be considered a success for Airbus.

We take a look at the evolution of the Airbus A330.

Original Variants – A330-200 and A330-300

A330-200s were designed to seat between 210 to 250 passengers, with a theoretical capacity of 406 seats in a higher density configuration with a range of up to 13,450km/7,250 NM. A330-300s were designed to seat between 250 to 290 passengers, with a theoretical capacity of 440 passengers and a range of up to 11,750 km/6,350 NM.

The A330 family was designed to provide operators with versatile and efficient aircraft. Capable of being deployed on a huge variety of routes from short-haul to long-haul, it also provides a high-quality standard of comfort for passengers.

Delta Air Lines Airbus A330-323 N806NW.
Photo: Vincenzo Pace | Simple Flying

Phasing out of the A330ceo

The last A330-200 to be ordered and used for passengers was delivered to LEVEL in September 2019, and then Aer Lingus took delivery of the final A330-300 in May 2020. The original variants have now been discontinued, at least for the passenger market, and the only option for airlines now are the new variants on offer – A330-800neo and A330-900neo. This was partly in response to the competition and success of the Boeing 787 – Airbus decided to tweak the original design with the latest aerodynamic and cabin technology.

Airbus updated the original design for the A330neo

Airbus launched the A330neo in 2014, and with lower operating costs, improved aerodynamic technology, and better fuel efficiency, it was anticipated to be as successful as the original versions. The new variants have been re-engined, with both operating with the Rolls-Royce Trent 7000 engine.

Curved and swept back wingtips have been introduced, and with one of the highest wingspan and aspect ratio of an aircraft of its size, the aerodynamics have been improved, leading to less fuel burn and lower fuel costs. These improvements have added approximately 1,000 NM to the range of both variants over their predecessors.

Airlines with the A330 already in their fleet could easily integrate the A330neo, as there are many common parts, and aircrew can transition to the neo with only a short training course and still be rated to fly both versions. A further benefit of the A330 for airlines is that it shares a common type rating with the A350. Both types can be flown under one license, and Airbus states that only eight days of training would be needed.


Photo: Vincenzo Pace | Simple Flying

Future of the A330neo

The original variants were a success for Airbus and have been one of the best-selling aircraft of its size and range. To date, the new variants have been less successful than their predecessors. Of the two, the A330-900 has been the most successful. As of October 2022, only 11 A330-800s have been sold. In comparison, Airbus has stated that 262 orders have been placed for A330-900s, with Delta Air Lines placing the largest order. This is an aircraft that is popular with airlines and passengers, and with the updated models in service, they will continue to be deployed for many years.

  • rsz_airbus_50th_years_anniversary_formation_flight_-_air_to_air


    Stock Code:

    Date Founded:

    Guillaume Faury

    Headquarters Location:
    Toulouse, France

    Key Product Lines:
    Airbus A220, Airbus A320, Airbus A330, Airbus A340, Airbus A350, Airbus A380

    Business Type:


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