Airbus Said to be Planning More Efficient A330 Widebody

Enhancements Would Create Potential Dreamliner Competitor

By Paul Riegler on 11 July 2014
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An Airbus A330 in Lufthansa livery

An Airbus A330 in Lufthansa livery

On the eve of the start of the Farnborough Air Show in the United Kingdom, Airbus is said to be discussing advanced plans for an upgraded A330 with potential customers.

The new A330 would be an upgrade of the existing plane, not an entirely new design.  It would be 14% more fuel efficient, according to various reports, and have far greater range.  The news was first reported in the Wall Street Journal.

The upgraded twin-aisle A330 would echo Airbus’ strategy in reengineering the single-aisle A320 into the A320neo.

Unlike what would be one of its main competitors, the Boeing 787 Dreamliner, the upgraded Airbus would not be made using composite materials and more advanced systems.  The newer technology in the Dreamliner allows it to operate with cabin pressure set to 6,000 feet altitude and relative humidity at 15% instead of 4% on other aircraft, two features that are said to greatly increase passenger comfort.

If built, the new A330 would reportedly have a new Rolls-Royce engine, the Trent 7000, derived from the engine that Rolls-Royce designed for the Boeing 787 Dreamliner.  The plane would also get winglets similar to those on Airbus’ new A350 model.

In June, AirAsia CEO Tony Fernandes said on Bloomberg Television that he has been pushing Airbus for an upgraded A330 with new engines that would turn the 20-year-old jet into a “killer” plane.

(Photo: Accura Media Group)

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