The case for an A330neo

With the increasing possibility that Airbus will defer or even drop the A350-800, the case for an A330neo becomes much stronger. Absent the A358, Airbus has no effective competition to the Boeing 787-8. The current A330, which we will call the A330 Classic, is a very good airplane but it is not as fuel efficient as the 788. The Airbus argument that the A330 Classic is competitive is based on the most favorable of assumptions and rests in part on the key capital cost assumption and moderate fuel prices.

In a story on Friday Reuters confirmed our December 23 e-newsletter report (which subsequently was published at Leeham News and Comment December 29) that Airbus is seriously considering an A330neo. This certainly clears the air on this score.

A332 cost per seat

 Source: Airbus

Airbus argues that the lower capital cost offsets the higher operating costs of its A330s vs Boeing’s 787-8 and forthcoming 787-9.

The following table includes Airbus’ assumption as well as 2013 lease rates reported by the appraisal firm Collateral Verifications (CV). Airbus assumes a higher lease rate for the 787-8 than CV reports. CV does not yet have an estimated lease rate for the 787-9.

Current Market Value is the price an airplane can be expected to sell for in today’s environment. Current Base Value is the theoretical price in a stable supply-and-demand market.

 

Current Market Value

(2013)

Current Base Value

(2013)

Appraiser-reported Lease Rate

Airbus assumed Lease Rate

 

(Millions)

(Millions)

(000)

(000)

A330-200

 $   90.38

 $ 110.90

$850

$850

787-8

 $ 115.28

 $ 123.30

$920

$1,150

 

 

 

 

 

A330-300

 $   97.72

 $ 113.62

$905

$900

787-9

 N/A

N/A 

N/A

$1,250

 

 

 

 

 

 


 


 


 

.

.

Source: CMV, CBV and Appraiser Lease rates from Collateral Verifications, May 2013, reference book.

The difference between Airbus’ estimate of the 787-8 lease and CV’s published lease rate is $230,000/mo, or $2.76m a year. Airbus assumes a 1% lease rate the CMV of the 787-8 but a .94% lease rate for its A330-200.

This $230,000/mo lease rate delta may well be the difference between advantage to Airbus or advantage to Boeing under the Airbus scenario.

Source: Airbus

Source: Airbus

Furthermore, we know of A330-300 lease rates of $1m, or $100,000 higher than the Airbus assumption vs its estimated lease rate of $1.25m for the 787-9.

Airbus is also making its assumptions over 2,000nm (routes intra-Asia, for example) and at $3/gal fuel. Fuel prices fluctuate, of course.

Our affiliate, Leeham Co EU in Europe, prepared the following analysis that is for fuel consumption only and does not evaluate other operating costs or capital costs. This analysis demonstrates that the A330 Classic falls well short of the 787-8/9 and the A350.

A330-neo fuel mile and seat mile diagram 18 Dec 2013

Thus, given the favorable capital cost variable Airbus uses to promote the current A330 family, it may be seen that this variable alone makes-or-breaks its argument.

The backlog for the A330 currently is only two years at present production rates. Airbus officials have said they expect the A330 to remain in production into the 2020 decade, but with a backlog at November 30 of just 251 and a production rate of 10/mo, Airbus currently has enough orders only through early 2016. If Airbus is to maintain production for another 10-15 years (i.e., 2013-2018), more than just creating a “regional” airliner option is required. This means NEO and/or reduced production rates.

In some respects, the A350 XWB and 787 are “too much airplane,” offering far more range than most carriers require. The 6,000nm A330-300 covers must trans-Atlantic and trans-Pacific missions. The A330-200, at 7,200nm, has been evolving into a niche airplane; sales have tapered off in favor of the larger A333 with better seat mile costs.

Although some suggest that the A330neo is the original A350 concept that was rejected by the market, it is not. A350 V 1.0 included a new wing and new systems. We believe the A330neo would follow the example of the A320neo, with minimal changes required related to the engine and related structures. We also expect sharkets would be part of the package.

We expect activity to increase at Airbus and the engine makers as they evaluate the prospects of producing a neo.

 

36 Comments on “The case for an A330neo

  1. Riddling the datapoints from the graph
    for the 787-8 versus A330-200NEO I get:
    ~5% ( 8.29 / 8.73 ) difference in fuel / aircraft mile and
    ~0.7% ( 0.03415 / 0.0344 ) difference in fuel / seat mile.

    What metric does the given 4% value reference?

  2. If Airbus would use the very latest engine technologies* and an affordable, re-engineered and significantly lighter wing (i.e. less volume in the wing box means less structure etc.); a next generation A330 family (i.e. not really an A330neo) would not only equal the 787 in performance, but should surpass it by some margin.

    * i.e. 2020 EIS and TSFC up to 10 percent better than the engines on the 787. In comparison the GE9X will be about 7-8 percent better than the GEnx in the TSFC department.

    • As for the wing, the current one on the A330 is rightsized. It already has a very high aspect ratio and much lower relative wing-loading than, for example, that of the 777-300ER.

      However, the centre and outer wing box was designed to hold up to slightly more than 139,000 litres of fuel for the A340-300. The centre wing box alone can hold around 41,500 litres of fuel. In comparison, the fuel capacity for the A350-1000 is 156,000 litres, while for the A350-900 it’s reduced to 138,000 litres. Hence, the fuel capacity of a fully competitive A330neo is too large. Even the centre wing box on the A330 is longer than the one on the A350: 10 (fuselage) frames x 0.535m vs. 8 frames x 0.635m. The A330-200 has, of course, also a maximum fuel capacity of 139,000 litres of fuel, but only the tanker version will ever load the fuel tanks at maximum capacity.

      For an A330neo not only to match the 787, but to surpass it, IMO Airbus should modify the wing. How?

      First, the wing box should be reduced in size and volume. The centre wing box should be reduced in length by 2 frames, or even possibly by 3 frames (in the x-axis), as well as being reduced in volume between the engines. Thus, the forward spar on the revised wing would be near parallel to the aft spar inboard of the engines. Both the 787 and the A350 has a similar feature, but it’s most noticeable on the A380, where the front spar “separates” from the leading edge inboard of the inner engines

      http://jetphotos.net/viewphoto.php?id=7726448&nseq=27

      In order to further reduce the weight, the centre spar should be removed (i.e. like the A350). Since the wing covers would be reduced in area, Airbus will have a clear option of making the entire wingbox in CFRP. That will reduce empty weight by some 7-8 tonnes. However, the wing would not be all new, since the movable surfaces etc would be retained from the current wing as well as landing gear, same engine distance from the aircraft centreline etc (i.e. on the 777X the engines are moved further outboard from the 777′s centreline).

      Flightglobal article on the original A350 and the changes planned for the new wing:

      The adoption of CFRP fore and aft spars for the outer wing (outboard of the composite centre wingbox) has enabled Airbus to delete the centre spar and revise the design of the metallic ribs, providing further weight reductions. The revamped wing also incorporates a simplified fuel system, with one large centre fuel tank extending into the outer wing flanked by a main wing tank each side, further reducing weight and improving operating efficiency. The tailplane trim tank has also been expanded, which improves centre-of-gravity management during flight.

      http://www.flightglobal.com/news/articles/second-chance-the-a350-204138/

      In contrast to the wing on the original A350, and as I’ve outlined, IMO the wing box and integrated tanks inboard of the engines should be reduced in volume and
      structure, and thus weight.

      2nd, this new generation A330 should be equipped with engine technologies at least as advanced as the GE9X, or upwards of 10 percent betterment in efficiency over that of the Trent-1000 and the GEnx engines, which BTW are no longer state-of-the-art. Incidentally, such engines would be perfect for an A380neo.

      3rd, IMO the nose of the A350 (i.e. Section-11) could be integrated with the smaller circular A330 fuselage. Among other things, it would allow for a taller nose landing gear, 100 percent cockpit commonality with the A350 and better aerodynamics.

      With all these improvements plus an all new cabin and larger windows, an A330NG family could have the following members:

      A330-800: Same size as the A330-200, reduced MTOW (220 metric tonnes, optimised MLG); 8000nm range.

      A330-900: Same size as the A330-300, MTOW of 242 metric tonnes; 8000nm range.

      A330-1000: 10 frame stretch, MTOW of 242 metric tonnes; 7000nm range.

      Hence, by using the very latest engine technologies (i.e. TSFC up to 10 percent better than the engines on the 787), and what would be an affordable, re-engineered wing, a next generation A330 family (i.e. not really an A330neo) would not only equal the 787 in performance, but surpass it by some margin.

      • You can’t be accuse of thinking small 😉

        What you describe is a Boeing style NG version where everything changes exept for the bolts that attach the wings to the body and the basic cert.
        This only makes sense if there is a major advantage in grandfathering an from an ancient certification base ( as with the 737NG ).
        The A350 nose will imho not be a good aerodynamic fit to the 222″ fuselage.

        What details of the A330 airframe do actually underperform in comparison to the newer designs ( and thus could really benefit from some cleanup/twiddling ) ?

        • Well, everything but 5 percent would have changed on the original A350. That’s not what I’m proposing. I’d reckon that the A330NG I’m talking about would have closer to 50 percent commonality with the current model. As for the wing, it would retain the movable suraces on the trailing edge, and on the leading edge outboard of the engines. The centre wing box would be all new, but the fuselage, most of the systems and empennage would largely remain the same except for the nose section (i.e. Section 11/12) if Airbus would elect to go with the A350 nose section.

          From the Flightglobal article in the link above:

          It is more than a year since Airbus showed its hand in the battle for the mid-size widebody market, unveiling the A350 as a major derivative of the A330 – then powered solely by General Electric GEnx engines – to compete against the all-new Boeing 787. Over the past 12 months, the new Airbus has undergone several significant design refinements. In its latest guise – shown to customers in November – the twinjet shares little more than 5% commonality with its predecessor.

          As for re-using the A350 nose section on an A330NG; subsonic aircraft design has long since moved away from less efficient, pointed noses to more efficient flattened nose sections, which have better aerodynamics, in addition to maximising pressurised volume in the forward lower lobe. For Airbus, the A320 was the first model that introduced such a flattened nose section design, while for Boeing, the 787 was the first model that did not have a distinct and pointed nose.

          AFAIK, the A330 and A350 are very similar dimensionally in the lower lobe. Hence, the nose section on the A350 and on an adapted A350 nose section for an A330NG, should be close to identical below the forward cabin floor, and between doors 1A and 1B. The fuselage tapering on the upper forward fuselage, between the cockpit windows and the A330 constant fuselage section, would be different on an A330NG than it is on the A350 (i.e. the one for an A330NG should be slightly shorter). Combined with a smaller wing box, the available volume for lower deck would increase by at least 2 LD3 positions.

          What details of the A330 airframe do actually underperform in comparison to the newer designs ( and thus could really benefit from some cleanup/twiddling )

          IMO, wing volume and the excess weights associated with such a large volume. I.e. on a LCA, the weight of the wing accounts for up to 40 percent of the manufacturers empty weight (MEW). Hence, a re-engineered wing — affordable if most of the movable surfaces from the current platform could be retained — would in addition to end-of-decade-state-of-the-art engines, IMO do wonders for an A330NG (i.e. not an A330neo).

        • OV-099
          empty volume has no weight 😉
          Actually that excess volume is what “makes” the A330 light. ( as well as the A350 wing ).

          Any data around for wing mass ( 787 A330 A350 ) ?

        • Yes, even that empty volume is full of nitrogen or plain air, and it still has some weight… 😉

          I’ve got the wing weight for the A380, but not the aircraft in question.

          Page 23 in this document:
          http://www.akl.tu-darmstadt.de/media/arbeitskreis_luftverkehr/downloads_6/kolloquien/13kolloquium/05druckvorlage_morales.pdf

          As for a thick wing root contributing to an altogether lighter wing, please do note that the front spar on the A380 wing is in the area of the wing’s maximum thickness. That’s not the case with the front spar on the A330 wing.

        • “filled with air”
          think airship, neutral boyancy 😉

          in a simplistic first order modeling the wing is a tapered I-Beam.
          increasing web height allows reduction of the flange thickness for the same kind of load.
          A more voluminous profile allows to build a lighter (and as a sideeffect stiffer ) wing. ( OT the touted as the future blended wing body should be stiffer than a 100 proof grog )

        • The modified wing would have the same external dimensions (i.e. wing area, wing root chord, same supercritical airfoil shape etc), and the same internal volume. However, it would have a significantly lower fuel capacity due to the smaller, less voluminous centre and outer wing tanks due to the re-arranged position of the front spars of the centre and outer wing boxes, inboard of the engines.

          Just like the front spar on the A380 wing, the front spar on this A330NG would intersect the fuselage at a significantly higher angle than on the current wing. If the front spars on the A380 would largely have run parallel to the leading edge inboard of the inner engines, the centre wing box would truly have been humongous, and it would have had a much larger “footprint” in the lower lobe (i.e. less lower deck cargo volume etc.)..

  3. Wont Boeing be take weight off the 787-8 in the future? They have created sinificant weight saveings that have yet to be rolled into the 787-8. My guess is that once the current 787-8 backlog is cleared and the 787-10 is ready for production they will go back and knock significant weight off the 787-8 makeing even a A330neo uncompetitive.

    • Where is the shareholder value for that?

      IMU they don’t have the money nor the resource to reduce weight much beyond spec as sold.

  4. I think a A330 could have 10-15% better fuel efficiency then a A330 classic.  GE says the GenX is up to 15% better then the CF6-80 that powers the A330 and 747-8i.

    http://www.ge.com/tr/tr/assets/docs/GE-Turkey_Moving-Pillar_Hero-Secondart-Content_Airplane_Motor_Engineering.pdf

    I guess a few percent can be gained by using a significantly larger fan. There is some ground clearance and the higher nose gear option can add inches. And the wing pylon of course, a A330 would need a new one anyway. 

    They once put an even bigger engine on that wing, on that position, a Trent 900 together with CFM56-5. It proves in terms of loads and engineering a lot is possible on the A330 wing.
    http://img294.imageshack.us/img294/4717/trent900ff011ht.jpg

    Some drag and weight improvements you wouldn’t do if you hadn’t 3 years to design, produce and certify, are no doubt waiting to be implemented.

    There is some span available for a better (CFD optimized) winglet, Sharklet, or A350 style tip. Not 4% better, because you replacing. But 1- 2% should be possible.

    Altogether a  15% fuel enhancement over the A330 Classic doesn’t seems over optimist at all. We have some claims / graphs on  A330 Classic vs 787 efficiency. 

    Projecting a 15% enhancement of the A330 on those A330 vs 787 claims, we enter a virtual no-go area, because the 787 is simply more efficient. It seems no one dares to challenge that, at this moment.

    • “It seems no one dares to challenge that, at this moment.”

      I do! 😉

      An all new, late-decade-state-of-the-art engine could have up to 25 percent better TSFC than the current market leading Trent-700 engine on the A330, and not just a 15 percent betterment in TSFC that the Trent-1000 would provide.

      Boeing asked GE to produce an all new engine for the 777X that would have around 5 percent lower TSFC than the Trent-XWB engine, and incidentally, some 7-8 percent lower TSFC than the GEnx and TXWB engines.

      Why shouldn’t Airbus ask for the same level of engine efficiency for an upgraded A330?

  5. Airbus is taking liberties with a lot of assumptions here. First they assume any A-330NEO/NG would have the same monthly lease rates as the current A-330CLASSIC. That alone is not realistic. Second they assume no improvements on the current GEnx-1B and Trent-1000 engines, or a possible future reengined B-787, or further improvements to the airplane itself. Both GE and RR have sold about 1000 engines for the B-787, and in the case of the GEnx, the B-747-8, too. So they both have recovered close to their development costs. Finally assuming a $3 USD price per US Gallon of fuel is also not realistic. While no one can predict the price of fuel in 2018, or later, I would expect fuel costs to be substantially higher than now, perhaps a $1 or more.
    The 2013 listed price of the B-787-8 was $211.8M, the -9 was $249.5M, and the -10 was $288.7M.
    http://www.boeing.com/boeing/commercial/prices/index.page
    The 2013 listed price of the A-33-200CLASSIC was $216.1M and the -300 was $239.4M.
    http://www.airbus.com/presscentre/corporate-information/key-documents/?eID=dam_frontend_push&docID=14849
    Interestingly, the A-332 actually is listed at $4.3M more than the B-788. While we know airlines don’t pay listed prices, and can get substantial discounts, the A-332 starts out in the hole by more than $4M USD. A B-788 sold with a 29% discount brings in about $150.4M. An A-332 needs to be sold at a 30.5% discount to get under the discounted B-788, at about $150.2M. That 1.5% difference may not sound like much in the discount wars between the two OEMs, but it piles up as more than one airplane is ordered under the sales contract.
    Airbus’s assumptions just are not realistic

    • First they assume any A-330NEO/NG would have the same monthly lease rates as the current A-330CLASSIC. That alone is not realistic. Second they assume no improvements on the current GEnx-1B and Trent-1000 engines, or a possible future reengined B-787, or further improvements to the airplane itself. Both GE and RR have sold about 1000 engines for the B-787, and in the case of the GEnx, the B-747-8, too. So they both have recovered close to their development costs.

      Not sure where you get all this, KC. Not from our post and not from the Airbus illustrations.

      • Taking liberties, forsooth!

        purchases ~= performance * availability. + pinch of hype 😉

        _Any_ kind of improvement will extend interest in the A330.

        Now the combined order book for 787-8/9 hasn’t shown much movement
        over the last 4 years ( 2008 ~= 2013 ). The -10 is imho out of scope here.
        787 order swaps effectively mimmick the changeover of interest from the A330-200 to the -300. ( And maybe a bit of Mk1 shyness )
        As long as 787-8/9 orders stay stagnant …

    • Topboom, the charts in Scott’s article are for the classic A330s. Airbus still officially claims there will be no A330 NEO and would hence not be releasing charts with NEO numbers.

  6. Do not bury PRATT on this issue!
    “One should not walk away saying Pratt has focused on being only a single-aisle manufacturer,” said Saia (that was mid February 2013), who oversees Pratt & Whitney’s next-generation products. “We are heavily investing in technology for the wide-body thrust class and we continue to be very positive on taking a geared turbofan architecture up to 100,000 pounds of thrust.”

    Now, PRATT has a unique opportunity with this 330 NEO
    Market is more or less closed elsewhere:
    – no way with BOEING, in bed with GE,
    – no way with the 350, exclusive RR
    And if the GTF is as good as the first purepower series seem to prove, this could be a game changing opportunity, helping the 330 NEO to nearly match the 787 fuel burn figures, and stay competitive in the 2020s reaching an undreamed of life prolongation
    This would definitively help AIRBUS match BOEING volumes in the WB business, with 7/8 330 /month+ 14 350/month against 14 787 + 7/8 777
    The ball is now in PRATT’s hands: they must be fast, the 330 GTF EIS should not be later than 2018.
    The challenge is there !

  7. The earlier post that GE are pushing for the A330 NEO using GEn-2 makes me think the real push from GE is to kill any P+W new large GTF. A GEn-2 on an A330 is just competing with a GEn-1 on a B787. I suspect they have estrapolated the 3% adv the PP-1000 is said to have over Leap-X to GEn-X vs PP-?000 and didn´t like the estimates they came up with. I can´t see Airbus rushing into a GEn2 NEO IF one or two years waiting gives them an engine with 5% better SFC, I wouldn´t be surprised if they were talking to P+W right now about what they can do. I also think they will want to put anything used on the A330 on the A380 as well, and I am not sure GE will want to do that. Could GE´s agreement with P+W on the GP-7200 stop GEn2 from being used on it as well??

    Remember Airbus pushed the A350-1000 back to allow more time fror engine work, I could see them doing the same here. taking PP with EIS 2020 instead of GEn2 in 2018. Manage A330 production from 2016-2020 by selling A330 NEO slots tied to Classic slots.

  8. Airbus is playing the seat-number game again. Simple arithmetic, multiplying the “cabin length” times the “economy seats abreast” gives a measure of size. The following results size-wise (with 777-200ER being 100%)

    777-200 – 100% (9 abreast)
    777-300 – 121.1% (9 abreast)
    777-8 – 124.4% (10 abreast)
    777-9 – 140.5% (10 abreast)
    787-8 – 87.5%
    787-9 – 100.1%
    787-10 – 111.5%
    A330-200 – 82.7%
    A330-300 – 92.5%
    A350-800 – 94.1%
    A350-900 – 107.0%
    A350-100 – 121.6%

    So, unlike the claims of Airbus, the A330-200 is quite a bit smaller than a 787-8, not same size. And the A330-300 is even smaller relatively than the 787-9, not 20 seats bigger. So all these “per seat” calculations are nonsense.

    • First, the length, for example, between the centre line on doors 1 and 4 is about 2.5m more on the A330-200 than the 787-8. 2nd, in an OEM standard configuration, “economy seats abreast” usually only starts “somewhere between” doors 2 and 3 on both the 787-8 and the A332. Hence, between doors 1 and “somewhere between doors 2 and 3 on the 787-8 and A332, the former has no added advantage for premium class passengers.

      I would agree, though, that the A332 and the 787-8 are roughly equal in size, and that a seriously upgraded 8000 nm capable A330-800 and A330-900, would complement rather than compete with the A350-900 and A350-1000.

    • Nope. A330-200 reference layout has 36 B/C seats at 60inch, and 210 Y/C at 32in. Boeing has a similar layout provided in its 2006 ACAP of the B787-8. It features 36 61in seats, and 191 Y/C seats 8-abreast (227 in total). The economy cabin has ~23 rows, hence an increase to 9-abreast would yield about 20 additional passengers (some rows cannot be increased due to fuselage tapering and aisle width). Hence 250 seats.
      The B787-8/9 was explicitly designed to have the capacity of the A330-200 and -300.

      Another indicator: maximum capacity of the B787-8 is 375 seats (front to end 9-abr eco), the A330-200 can hold 380 seats (also 9-abreast).

    • What sort of metric are you using there? How about comparing cabin floor area for the 788 and A332 @ 232.2 and 237.6 m^2 respectively; & 789 and A333 @ 265.7 and 265.8 m^2 respectively. Can you show me how:
      “the A330-200 is quite a bit smaller than a 787-8″ and ” the A330-300 is even smaller relatively than the 787-9″, even allowing for taper on the Airbus a/c?

      • Floor area is confusing because aircraft with more width per seat appear to have a bigger capacity than they actually do. They may have more comfort but not necessarily more capacity. Since the A350, 787 and current generation 777 are all essentially 9 abreast, I ignore the differences in cabin width and just compare cabin length. The 787-9 cabin is actually slightly longer than that of the 777-200. So us bigger. For the A330 I multiply cabin length by 8/9ths. It’s a crude measure but it tells me if people are paying games with seat counts.

        • I am sorry you feel confused with definition of the cabin area. You can play many games with the cabin definition. You clearly forgot the claims Boeing is making about the 748 arrangements.

  9. I think that the big question here is, “Why does Airbus in two instances assume different lease rates from what the appraisers use?”

    If they have some real metric for this, than these numbers would indicate that an A330 classic is already “better” than the 787 as far as overall costs are concerned. If they have just massaged the numbers to make the A330 look better, than it is a pretty clumsy effort on their part.

    The important fact that cannot be ignored is that, irrespective of the operating cost numbers Airbus publishes, the A330 sales are slowing. It would seem that Airbus needs to make a physical improvement to the A330 if they wish to continue selling them for another 10 years.

  10. Guys, why should Airbus build an aircraft that competes with its own aircraft (the A350)?. The 15% fuel burn improvement is far too optimistic. I would assume a modest 10% at best, and the A330 would come out still worse than the B787 and hence not strong on pricing.
    Any investment would be better in the A350, giving the A350-800 a smaller wing.

    My opinion remains strongly opposed to the A330NEO (sadly, would be a cool aircraft), because I cannot identify a good business case. “Regional” traffic is low utilisation, low value, low pricing. Airlines buy the A330 because it is cheap and available. Especially the latter matters. This advantage will be gone in a few years as the B787 program will have available delivery positions.

    • Near term A350xwb availability will be limited. Exessive acceleration of production ramp up is risky. delivering -900 and -1000 frames creates more revenue and satisfies demand that Boeing could jump in ( see 777 sales spike after -1000 delay announcement ).
      Any improvement on the A330 should move the demand and production ramp over to the right presenting extra deliveries that do not cut into core A350 demand.
      Also short term available A330 will probably cut into further 787-8/9 demand.

      An A330 NEO would IMHO significantly boost the described mechanics.

    • opposed to the A330NEO because I cannot identify a good business case.

      Timing, I guess. Right now there’s no near term availability on either the A350 or the 787. The only other source of medium twin aisles is the A330. By the 2020 decade this will change: the 787 (and maybe A350 derived planes) will be available and possibly cheaper. the A330 won’t be able to compete.

      So, Airbus doesn’t need a NEO to sell the A330 now. By 2025, a NEO won’t be enough to sell the A330. There is perhaps a brief transition period around the turn of the decade where the prospect of an earlier A330 NEO beats a slightly later and perhaps more expensive 787. Someone suggested that Airbus could sell an additional 300 planes if it brings out an A330 NEO.

      This suggests a number of things to me

      – The A330 NEO is a short term and tactical program that takes advantage of a shortage of supply and an existing A330 industrial capacity.
      – Modifications will be kept to an absolute minimum. Speed of development is key.
      – Airbus needs a Plan D for its replacement of the A330 (The Airbus A350 Mk I, A350-800 XWB and A330 NEO all falling short long term).
      – Plan D will need to be in place by 2025.

  11. A ‘no’ will become a ‘yes’ if they can freeze the configuration and find an acceptable balance between the level of investment and the time to market. I am guessing the decision will be made this year.

  12. The A330 will be sold out in ~3 years. Waste off money the scrap a perfectly fine productline with upgrade potential and an enthusiast lareg user group market.

    Killing the 777 line would be equally stupid.

    Will an A330NEO be allowed to match the 787 in fuel efficiency & beat it in ownership and capital costs? The numbers point in that direction. (engine -15%, source GE), wingtips, OEW reduction.. But everyone holds back making up the balance, even with good estimates available. Are we dealing with a holey cow?

    • Re-engining is something that awakes fantasies and blurs reality.

      -15% SFC might be a number. I doubt it is the number of latest technology engine of current A330 versus a real life GEnx-2.
      – the losses due to higher engine weight and drag will eat away a few percent. I would put the number on 10% if installed.
      – OEW reductions? How and why? The A330 might even get a center landing gear, which is worth 1-1.5t OEW. I doubt there are any major opportunities for weight reduction.

      The A330 might be a good deal in 2017 due to lack of alternatives. But try to convince a lessor to buy and re-lease you the aircraft which will be scrap metal after its initial lease period. Today they do it because the investment is small (90-100 Million USD of the line).
      Airbus would get probably 10-20 Million USD extra per copy of the A330. That isn’t much compared to a program cost of 1.5 billion (A320 NEO is even more expensive).

      Do not underestimate the effects on the overall airframe. It isn’t the DC8-61. Center of gravity, wing structure, handling.

      Give it one downturn in demand and the A330 dies first.

    • The price gap between A330-300 and A350-900 is about $35 million (with 25% discount assumed). With estimated $1 billion development costs for Airbus the A330NEO could still be $15 million cheaper than the A350 (just 50 .

      Why should it be a problem for Airbus to sell A330 instead of A350 as long as the profit is OK? Why shouldn’t Airbus sell an A330-200NEO with less range compared to A350-800 but nearly identical fuel consumption. How many airlines really need the range?

      The A330NEO-F could also defer the need for an A350-F.

      The A330NEO could also be a good tranquilizer for delayed A350s.

      The A330NEO is also a small option for delayed 777X.

  13. -15% SFC might be a number. I doubt it is the number of latest technology engine of current A330 versus a real life GEnx-2.

    Tell GE.

    – the losses due to higher engine weight and drag will eat away a few percent. I would put the number on 10% if installed.

    No otherwise you don’t make them bigger. Anyway you are replacing metal cowling by composites ones.

    – OEW reductions? How and why?

    Wings, controls, tails, interiors, piping, A340 dimensioned structure, things moved on during the last 25 years..

    – The A330 might even get a center landing gear, which is worth 1-1.5t OEW.

    I think not.

    – But try to convince a lessor to buy and re-lease you the aircraft which will be scrap metal after its initial lease period.

    It just doesn’t work like that. How many A320s, A330, 737NG, 777 were sold during the last 2-3 years?

    There are some potentials customers under the radar. Asian carriers for large cheap medium range aircraft, UPS and FEDEX with theri large Douglas and Airbus widebody fleets, Airforces looking for tanker transports, etc.

    For good products / supply chains like the A330: if it works, don’t fix it. The ones who really think letting the A330 line is a smart move, is the Boeing team. It hurt the MD11, 767, 777-200s, Sonic Cruiser, KC767 and 787 margins. They want one for the firing range. http://www.beegc.org/ 😉

    • No otherwise you don’t make them bigger. Anyway you are replacing metal cowling by composites ones.

      Come on, we went over this issue a 1000 times. Engine manufacturer gives vanilla numbers for his new super engine. Airframe integration is not his part of the job, you’ll never achieve the test bench numbers. The cowlings do not weight that much, regardless they are made from metal or composite.

      Wings, controls, tails, interiors, piping, A340 dimensioned structure, things moved on during the last 25 years…

      People may think that, some know it better. Actually, there is no trend identifiable. Any weight savings were eaten up by stronger specifications. People were good in building structures back in the 1960ies, there is no single innovation that made structures better – except materials (Al-Li isn’t that new, either). In some occasions better analysis models allows a right-sized structure, but that is usually due to better assessment of loads.

      It just doesn’t work like that. How many A320s, A330, 737NG, 777 were sold during the last 2-3 years?

      Yes, at which prices? Nearly exclusively B777-300ER were sold. A320 and B737NG are heavily discounted since the NEO/MAX were launched. A lessor might stem the bill, but only if it comes out cheap. An aircraft which isn’t best in class will see very bad financing deals.

      There are some potentials customers under the radar. Asian carriers for large cheap medium range aircraft, UPS and FEDEX with theri large Douglas and Airbus widebody fleets, Airforces looking for tanker transports, etc.

      I see the cheap medium range aircraft, but this has the least need for an update as the fuel bill will a small fraction of the cost.

  14. Airbus, from the AW&ST article are not sold on the A330NEO (for reasons I have stated here before) and I doubt it will be built. I don’t think they can see an economic case for it, especially at the time it debuts, when it will be overwhelmed by A350 and B787, and will always be behind them in economics.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *