Aviation News

January 30, 2012

Airbus Considering Longer-Range A330: Report

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By: Matt Molnar
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Airbus could deliver an increased-range version of the A330-300 airliner in four years, according to a French newspaper report.

The A330-300, like this US Airways example N278AY

The A330-300, like this US Airways example (N278AY), was the original variant of the model.

A proposed 400 nm (742 km) range increase would be accomplished through a 5 ton increase in maximum takeoff weight (MTOW), said the La Tribune article. The A330-200 would not be changed.

Boosting MTOW would require strengthening the aircraft, but at a cost of increased weight. The report suggests that the A330 carries a number of unnecessary A340-unique parts as a result of being built on the same assembly line. These parts would be removed to save weight.

Airbus’s motivation for the performance increase is found in both Boeing’s product line, and its own. A range increase would make the A330-300 more competitive with the Boeing 777 and 787 jets, and it would fill a void in range between the current A330 and the A350, which won’t be delivered for several years.

Several airlines have already been consulted on the move, said the report. Airbus has not commented.