[Aviation Today July 14, 2014] Airbus breathed new life into one of its oldest airframes at the 2014 Farnborough Airshow, with the launch of the A330neo (new engine option) passenger jet. The new aircraft will be powered by Rolls-Royce Trent 7000 engines, and will be 14 percent more fuel efficient than the airframe manufacturer's existing family of original engine option A330s.
Left to Right: Eric Schulz, president civil large engines at Rolls Royce, Febrice Bregier, CEO of Airbus, John Leahy, COO of Airbus. Photo, courtesy of Airbus.
According to Airbus CEO Fabrice Bregier, the A330neo will improve on fuel burn from the original airframe by 14 percent. He said the improvement on fuel efficiency is due to the new engines and modified wings, making the aircraft more aerodynamic. With these changes, the company expects to sell at least 1,000 of the A330neo, according to Bregier.
U.S.-based aircraft leasing company Air Lease Corp. (ALC) was announced as the launch customer for the revamped passenger jet on the first day of the Farnborough Airshow, signing an agreement to acquire 25 A330-900neos. ALC had been pushing for Airbus to launch an improved version of the aircraft, and believes the new version will extend the life of the A330 by 20-25 years.
“The A330neo, like the A320neo Family, will have success in the medium range segment due to its combination of high reliability, exceptional comfort and low operating costs. We see a significant market opportunity for the A330neo and we’re pleased that the first order bears ALC’s name," said Steven Udvar-Hazy-, CEO of ALC.
“The A321neo credentials, such as its lower fuel-burn, high reliability and wider, more comfortable cabin, also fit well in our product portfolio of innovative, profitable aircraft.”
The new Rolls Royce engine will have 72,600 pounds of thrust and an engine fan that is significantly larger than the current A330 engine, reaching 112 inches in diameter, compared to 97 inches for the existing one. Expanding the size of the engine fan allows the engines to operate more efficiently.
In a statement, Airbus said the A330neo "will not only match the cash operating costs per seat of its nearest competitor, the 787, but also surpass it on direct operating costs per seat." The company also said the A330neo will fly up to 400 nautical miles farther than the existing A330.
Airbus is also making changes to the aircraft cabin, expanding the number of seats and implementing a fourth-generation, high-definition In-flight Entertainment (IFE) system with full In-Flight Connectivity (IFC). Another new addition will be the Cabin Intercommunication Data System (CIDS), featuring a control panel managing the mood lighting, temperature and voice announcements for the flight crew.
"The A330 is a very important margin contributor for our group. It’s also one of the most reliable and efficient commercial aircraft ever; customers love it. With our decision to re-engine the plane, we will keep the A330 flying high for many more years to come," said Tom Enders, CEO of Airbus Group. “The development costs for the A330neo will be incurred from 2015 to 2017.”