Airbus A330-800 first flight

By Bjorn Fehrm

November 6, 2018, © Leeham News in Toulouse. The Airbus A330-800, the smaller of the A330neo variants, took off for its first flight in Toulouse today. It’s the fourth member of the A330neo flight test campaign and it will add another 350 Flight Hours to the 1,400 hours flown with the A330-900.

Airbus used the occasion to make a review of the A330neo program.

The A330neo program

The A330neo is designed to complement the A350 in Airbus’ widebody lineup. Through commonality for Air Crews and Passengers, Airbus will cover the market from 250 seats to 370 seats with four aircraft which share Pilot rating and Passenger experience.

The cabin on the A330neo has been upgraded to the same design and standard as the A350. The picture shows the A330neo cabin on the left and the A350 on the right.

Airbus is now getting more and more requests for A330neo nine-abreast economy layouts. It has therefore developed a cabin variant with nine 17 inch wide seats, featuring 17 inch wide aisles.

Depending on the type of economy section, the A330-800 can house about the same number of seats as a 787-8 or about 27 more as is shown in this example from the review.

With an advantage of 27 seats, the economics of the Boeing 787-8 and A330-800 change according to Airbus.

The fuel burn improvements for the A330-800 is coming from changes to the aircraft’s aerodynamics and improved engines.

The changes to the wing’s aerodynamics are significant. Through increased span and the resulting need to re-twist the wing, the pressure distribution has been brought even closer to the theoretically optimal elliptical shape.

The changes deliver an aerodynamic aggregate improvement of 4%. The aspect ratio of the A330neo wing is now higher than the 787 wings.

The A330neo market

Airbus claims it now controls the midrange market after a Boeing domination 10 years ago. The picture shows the situation in 2008 for routes with lengths between two and 10 hours.

Compared to the present picture the A321 and A330 families now dominate this market segment.

The A321neo including A321LR and A330neo are designed to continue this domination according to Airbus.

The main market for the A330neo and especially the A330-800 is the replacement market for the 124 operators that today fly A330. This market opens now and peaks in seven years. The graph shows the build years for the present A330 generation with the EIS of the A330-900 set in with a 20 years average lifetime of these aircraft.

Right now Airbus has 224 orders for the larger A330-900 and eight A330-800 as Kuwait Airways became the first A330-800 customer last month after Hawaiian Airlines cancelled its order earlier this year.

Today’s first flight for the A330-800 is the start of a flight test campaign of about 350 Flight Hours. The sole A330-800 test aircraft will verify the flight dynamic differences which will result from a five-meter shorter fuselage.

Other aspects of the aircraft are already tested in the A330-900 flight test campaign, which was finished with Certification of the A330-900 at 26th of September. The first A330—900 will be delivered to TAP Portugal in the coming week.

There are presently 23 A330neo in Final Assembly in Toulouse. Out of the 23, four different Heads of Version (different Cabin layouts) have been achieved.

80 Comments on “Airbus A330-800 first flight

  1. Do we see a MOM/NMA dip in the chart somewhere between 4 and 7 hours duration?

    • You won’t see a dip because every slot is normalized to 100% ( sum of all use variations.)
      You’d need absolute numbers ( pax transported or whatnot ) to see that dip or not.

      • Yes and no, it shows there is relatively little market penetration of the A321/332 pincer in this segment. I take your point that it does not give the overall market size however

    • Sowerbob – are you looking at the graphic ‘dip’ either side of about six hours duration, which illustrates the high proportion of 2008 frequencies that (then) were flown with Boeing products, among all large single-aisle and mid-size twin-aisle designs? In due time, no doubt, those Boeing aircraft will need to be replaced (and supplemented by additional numbers to accommodate market grwoth), which will provide opportunities for both OEMs.

  2. I hope that the A330 remains in the market and that most operators use the very attractive 8-abreast layout. A 9-abreast A330 is in my opinion close to unbearable if not used for a senior high school trip.

  3. Bjorn,
    It looks like you copied and pasted an Airbus press release verbatim.

    • Hi booch221,

      yes, this is retelling what was said and the claims shall be viewed in this context. Our evaluation of the A330-800 was done during the spring in several articles.

        • Yes, this is where we use our independent performance model to weed out Company claims.

          • Could I most respectfully request that we not get the propaganda end then as well?

            I understand the Business need to support itself and employees, but at least spare us the one end.

          • Trasnworld – come, come. “…at least spare us the one end”: that’s the whole point isn’t it? We get all this info/comment-tainment free from LeeHam, which – as you recognise – has a business to run. Let’s not begrudge them a few words in answer to a fellow reader’s real question…

  4. I endured 10-abreast 777 before. How would 9-abreast A330 compared to that?

    • Worse but survivable. Seats are even narrower.

      So much for Airbus’ claim that they are in it for the passenger’s comfort and nobody should have to endure seats under 18″.

      • Yep, i was about to say that. There goes the Self-proclaimed 18″ LR Seat Standard.

      • Its the airlines that determine the seating layout. Passenger comfort is at the bottom of the list.

        • No, its a mix .

          Some of us do need to travel, be it family needs or business.

          On the other hand, most buy a ticket with that seating sticking the rest of us with the short end of a seat.

          • Unbearable ? It was about the same width as the 747 – the Queen of the Skies- was for 40 years.
            Even now ,Lufthansa 747-8s are listed on a popular site as 17.1 in. Thats about a credit card width more than 17 in.
            So mass market international air travel was built on the ‘backside’ of a 17 in seat
            Travel is ‘all ways about choices’- flights , hotels, carriers…etc. So it is with seat width- if thats important or not then premium economy beckons with 19 in seats on Lufthansa

          • 40 years ago we were skinnier?

            Me, I still like leg room and its not like I am only average height.

          • I think people were skinnier, not sitting in front of TV’s and computers hole day, no Mac burgers and KFC.

            Can remember flying “long haul” on 707’s in the 70’s didn’t bother, and you could smoke on the flight.

          • @Dukeofurl:
            “It was about the same width as the 747 – the Queen of the Skies- was for 40 years.”
            Really? Pls kindly explain how to collate these facts based on the max cabin width published by manufacturers for cert purpose:
            W =239.5″, 19.96″ per seat/aisle in 10 abreast layout.
            W =207″, 18.82″ per seat/aisle in 9 abreast layout, 1.14″ or 5.7% narrower than 747.

            If 330 in 9 abreast is considered as generating “about the same width as the 747”, than 350 and 787 in 9 abreast are practically identical in seat width…..despite so many folks claim the former is heaven while the latter is hell for longhaul travel in Y.

      • @Bruce Levitt:
        “Worse but survivable.”
        Depending on who U to talk to…

        I hv read numerous comments that 787 in 9 abreast are not “survivable” relative to 350 in 9 abreast. Yet miraculously, 330 in 9abreast suddenly becomes “survivable” relative to 777 in 10 abreast. Go figure….

        “Seats are even narrower.”
        Max cabin width per manufacturer specs and therefore max theoretical width space available to install a seat/aisle regardless of the individual operator selection of seat width:

        350 in 9 abreast+2 aisles:
        W =221″, W per seat/aisle =20.09″

        787 in 9 abreast+2 aisles:
        W =216″, W per seat/aisle =19.64″, 2.2% narrower than 350.

        777 in 10 abreast+2 aisles:
        W =216″, W per seat/aisle =19.25″, 2% narrower than 787.

        330 in 9 abreast+2 aisles:
        W =207″, W per seat/aisle =18.82″, 2.2% narrower than 777.

        For a pax choosing between 9abreast 787 vs 330Neo(as Airbus positioned the 330Neo to primarily fight against 787, not 777, in the mkt per Airbus’ own presentation) for a longhaul LCC experience, 0.82″ or 4.2% diff in seat width no matter how we slice it or dice it.

    • If you claim to have “endured” a ten-abreast 777, then a nine-abreast A330, accoding to Airbus’s astroturf campaign disparaging ANYTHING less than 18in. wide seats, should prove to be a torture chamber and violate passenger rights, and require UN intervention or referral to the International Criminal Court…..

    • If you “endured” a ten-abreast 777, then a nine-abreast A330 should, according to Airbus’ astro-turf campaign against ANYTHING LESS THAN 18in wide seats, and would violate passengers’ civil rights and require referral to the International Criminal Court.

    • oof, people here (and elsewhere) bitch about 17.5″ wide seats on the 9 wide 787, I can’t wait to hear the spin about how 9 wide is fine on the 15″ narrower A330…

      • AirAsiaX flying 333’s with 3-3-3 seat layout, seat widths are claimed to be 16.5″, that’s about 1cm less than the 777’s with 3-4-3 (16.8-17″).

        A220’s seat width pushing towards 19″, makes you think.

        The real let down with the 787’s are the IFE’s under 6 of the 9 seats and its actually not quiet, fly in a A350 and you will understand.

        • @Anton:
          “AirAsiaX flying 333’s with 3-3-3 seat layout, seat widths are claimed to be 16.5″, that’s about 1cm less than the 777’s with 3-4-3 (16.8-17″).”
          Why rely on “claims”, which is easy for fudging of data(e.g. armrest width can vary from 0″ to 2″ in these “claims” depending on who is claiming), when U can calculate the precise seat width space available based on the max cabin diameter published by manufacturers?

          777 in 10 abreast has exactly 0.43″ more seat/aisle width space than 330 in 9 abreast which is about 1cm as U said. This begs the following question:
          If 0.43″ or 1cm is insignificant, how can 350 in 9 abreast offering 0.45″ or also 1cm more seat/aisle width space than 787 in 9 abreast can logically be significant in term of comfort due to seat width?……

          “The real let down with the 787’s are the IFE’s under 6 of the 9 seats”
          787 program development started almost 3yrs b4 the 350XWB program. That time gap is nearly an eternity per the pace of IFE development in recent decades. Therefore 350 program naturally has access to more advanced+compact IFE system design delivered fm day1 which the 787 didn’t hv. Few operators will ditch older, larger IFE units for newer, more compact ones only after a few yrs of use. Rich airlines like NH may be an exception: I fly their 787s a lot and all of them hv only very slim IFE boxes attached to the side of the seat legs…not underneath the seat cushion. this is despite NH 787 fleet include the oldest 787s built around.

          “and its actually not quiet, fly in a A350 and you will understand.”
          And I can say exactly the same thing about 350 as I hv flown on both types more than a few times each in various load conditions:
          350 is actually not quiet, fly in a 787 and you will still not understand….because of your inherent bias.

          • Hi FLX, going to fly early December with an airline that only recently received 789’s, will see how it differs.

            Yes I have a bias but maybe less than you think, the 330 with 9 abreast must really be NOT ok for passengers from the “West”, it could however serve its purpose for airlines operating in the East where people generally have smaller frames.

            I think some of the discussions here is that the economics of a 787 with 8 abreast layout (as was originally intended) most likely not better than an A330NEO in 8 abreast?

          • @Anton:
            “Yes I have a bias but maybe less than you think”
            I seriously doubt the above….the bias has been pretty consistent in pretty much all of your comments so far even in other topics…

            “..the 330 with 9 abreast must really be NOT ok for passengers from the “West”, it could however serve its purpose for airlines operating in the East where people generally have smaller frames.”
            Is that why AirAsiaX has been sending 333 x4, each with 377 seats in 9abreast Y layout, to SYD, MEL, PER and OOL almost on a daily basis for yrs? U think an avg Australian pax has “smaller frames”?

            U must be kidding….or yr bias runs wild as usual.

            “…economics of a 787 with 8 abreast layout (as was originally intended)”
            Intended by whom? Certainly not Boeing(otherwise, that 787 cabin mock-up photo showing 9abreast in Y officially published by Boeing 15yrs ago and still sitting on my bookshelf today must be a fake)….as some folks here like yourself continue to relentlessly imply.

            “…most likely not better than an A330NEO in 8 abreast?”
            May be but we’ll never find out as such analysis will purely be academic because 99% of the worldwide 787 fleet does not adopt 8abreast layout in Y so it’s all gonna be theoretical.

            However, based on tech facts & how airline normally config their birds for real world mission loads, I do strongly believe:
            a) 789 and 339(in 8 abreast) hv similar per seat economics in equal cabin config. However, this is irrelevant because U can deploy 789 on all 339 missions but not vice-versa such as the actual 789 missions like LAX->SIN by UA and PER->LHR by QF.

            b) 788 and 338(in 8 abreast) hv similar per seat economics in equal cabin config. However if deploy both on real missions beyond 8~9hrs duration, their cabin configs can’t possibly be the same…..thx to the nearly-mandatory crew rest modules must be located in the 330 belly and thus eating up the already small, usable cargo space down there.

      • Has it occurred to you that people complaining about seat width might actually care about seat width?

        As a passenger I dislike all modern Boeing products in their common Y configurations: 6-abreast 737; 9-abreast 787; and 10-abreast 777. The Airbus competitors are superior in every class, and markedly so at the high and low tails (i.e. 5-abreast A220 and 10-abreast A380). But if 9-abreast A330 becomes popular, I will avoid that aircraft configuration in Y, just like I avoid the 10-abreast 777.

      • The A 330 is only 8″ narrower (inside) than the 787. The effective difference is a little greater because the maximum width is higher above the floor in the 787 so maybe the 787 is effectively half of a seat wider than the 330. The A330 at 8 abreast beats 787 on seat width and you get no middle seat in the outer rows. The 787 has great windows for the kids among us and has truly generous seating on the one or two airlines (are they still doing it?) that offer it with 8 abreast economy.

        • @Dan F:
          “The A330 at 8 abreast beats 787 on seat width ”
          Which is totally irrelevant because this story/Airbus PR presentation and the discussion here are about 330 in 9abreast.

          Any perceived comfort superiority for 330 in 8abreast won’t physically apply /translate for a 330 in 9abreast….nice try though.

    • If you “endured” a ten-abreast 777, then a nine-abreast A330 should, according to Airbus’ astro-turf campaign against ANYTHING LESS THAN 18in wide seats, and would violate passengers’ civil rights and require referral to the International Criminal Court.

    • Similar. only you can sit pretty as you don’t have to stick your fingers into your ears 🙂

    • Tuan – comparison between the two cross-sections will be the same as ever was; width was one, but not only, factor in EK ordering so many 777s: they could “get back-packers ten-abreast at the back…,” as the cabin-services director put it once.

    • i use to fly a lot to the carribean and the difference between 10 abreast 777 AF and 9 abreast a330 ( xl airways) wasn’t really so important. I suppose it was due to the pitch wich was better on the a330. Do not focus only on seat width!
      of course it was only 8 hours flights
      ps: i’m 6’4 and more than 110 kg!

  5. Me thinks you need sales to control a market.

    Lets see how it does before we get too deep into hyperp9oble

    The folloiwng is an example (787 in htis case)

    “as one airline executive once described it, well suited for shorter, high-density long-haul routes that do not need the range or capabilities of either the 787-8 or -9.”

    Now just what is a shorter long haul route I ask? Is that not a medium range route by any0one else s definition .

    I won’t even get into the high density part. We have long and thin and we now have sort of long and dense?

    My head is hurting.

    • I hope the airlines stick with 8 abreast, double armrests on the middle seat. Airbus commercial apparently has re opened the A330NEO sales campaign & taking a stab on the 787-8..

      • It’s pretty obvious that an 8x A330 is not competitive with a 9x 787.

        • Why obvious ? At 8 abreast the A330 still carries 13 more passengers than the 787-8 (which is 2.5 m shorter).

          • With an advantage of 27 seats, the economics of the Boeing 787-8 and A330-800 change according to Airbus.

            Apparently it takes more than eight seats to change the economics. Duh!

  6. Good luck to the 338, the 332 one of my favorite aircraft.

    Probably known as one of the biggest “moaners and groaners” of seat width I am forced to make peace with the 787’s because you will land up flying with them somewhere.

    But to be blatantly honest I am trying to avoid 77W’s in 3-4-3 layout like the plague.

    • Anton:
      “But to be blatantly honest I am trying to avoid 77W’s in 3-4-3 layout like the plague.”
      And let me add this to your honesty:
      U will also try to seek to fly in a 330 in 3-3-3 layout like a quest for the holy grail….which will be music for Airbus’ ears.

  7. The 9 abreast is built upon request by the purchasing airline. Blame the airline you choose to fly on.

    The A330-800 will be an awesome, versatile plane with a range of 8150nm.

    If they could only find a solution to those darn engines.

    • I suspect strongly they will.

      Its not so much they had an issue, all mfgs have those.

      Actually its two issues, it took several years for both to fully manifest and they did not figure out the blade crack issue until very late. Its not a hard one to solve (at least from my understanding)

      But it went on so long it morphed into the Ten and the 7000 (and the 900 has some kind of blade issues as well)

      Its got such a head of steam reigning it in is going to take years.

  8. 9-abreast in a ‘basic’ economy ‘cabin/section’ for those paying LCC fares with known service level, 8-abreast on ‘regular’ economy ‘cabin/section’s again with added services and amenities. This IMHO is how airlines will ‘land’ cabin densification in a ‘fare’ way to match price-paid to service/amenities provided.

    Paying €1000k for an economy ticket and sitting with a €200 passenger is a bit sole destroying for many. I’m the dude who paid €2/300 usually. I can survive less if charged less.

    Best wishes to the test crew.

    • Fergal – Quite: you pays your money, and you takes your choice.
      If people (or whomever pays at the end of the day – their employers or, indeed, their unknowing business customers) weren’t prepared to pay the fares charged for the product provided suppliers would have to change their philosophy of what to offer at what price. Or is the travelling customer not right?

      • Its called ‘market power’ when the business has control over pricing and the customer has little choice.
        Another tactic is confusion marketing where it seems you have so many choices you find it hard to comparison shop.
        That describes planes with say 6 different choices to make on the economy class alone. or do you chose long haul nonstop thats expensive or with a short stop over thats less expensive but more choices of departures

  9. “Airbus is now getting more and more requests for A330neo nine-abreast economy layouts. It has therefore developed a cabin variant with nine 17 inch wide seats, featuring 17 inch wide aisles.”

    The writing has been on the wall with this one for several years. The Airbus 18″ seat campaign clearly was not working; most passengers either aren’t informed about seat width or simply don’t care. CASM is what matters.

    The 787 cabin width has looked great (commercially) for the last decade because it was nominally designed for 8-abreast but can squeeze in 9-abreast. But the problem (for Boeing and passengers) is that if nobody has complained about moving from 18″ to 17″, then why expect a big outcry when moving from 17″ to 16″?

    The 787 cabin was the perfect width…until it wasn’t. 9-abreast A338/9 will be a CASM monster, no doubt. I won’t fly it (in Y), but I’m not the average customer. The question is whether RR can get its act together and deliver reliable engines for it.

    • As noted above, they will.

      They let it get away for so long that it got into other engines and now you have to clean up a long trail of tears.

      And making new engines which are going to need repairs until the fixes are all in.

    • Mike – how/why will farepaying customer reaction to an A330-800/-900 nine-abreast layout be different from that to any previous nine-abreast configuration in any A300/310/330/340 cabin? Isn’t that what Airbus means about the 222-inch diameter having been a ‘magic dimension’ – which they got right on Day 1 and which has served them well for 40 years? Boeing has been reacting in this market segment ever since.

    • Hope those airlines going for 3-3-3 on the 330’s will also offer economy “comfort” seats, maybe the old 2-4-2 with 33″ pitch. Could be a good marketing strategy and those seat will sell.

      The “comfort layout” takes ~16% more floor space if 33″ vs 31″ is used, many will be prepared to pay 20-30% more for such seats if at 8 abreast vs 9.

      Wish the ME airlines will of Y+ on the 777’s, again the “old” layout of 3-3-3 with 32″-34″ pitch. Premium Economy worth it on 777’s if they go 2-4-2, seat pitch around 38″?

  10. Was wondering how the economics of an “LGW” (~235T?) 338 with de-rated to ~68Klb engines, ~5500Nm range, in 9 abreast layout will compare with that of an 789?

    Will never be an NMA/MoM but could be a very useful aircraft for certain airlines, especially from the East.

  11. A note above says that the a330 is obviously not competitive with the 787.

    I think the opposite when you consider the 787 was initially going to be an 8-across economy frame but because 9 fit… It became 9… And all the ‘math’ is now based on that.

    Thus, I think it’s fair to compare like for like if just to see the economics of true ‘like for like’ in terms of comfort and density. The a330 becomes comparably ‘as comfortable’ as a 787 (maybe a bit less but don’t know if airspace carved a few inches out of the side wall). 17in seats are the STD 787 so why shouldn’t airbus ‘show it’s data in this way also. I would love to see the numbers for my suggestion above… Biz (door 1-2), with an 8-abreast econony cabin (door 2-3) AND a 9-abreast basic exonony (door 3-4).

    With 9-abreast… I’d add an inch in legroom and try and keep the shoulders by the windows when staggering out the seats.

    Still surprised economy seats are still so old school, and haven’t absorbed any of the Crystal Cabin Award type of space innocations in staggering, flip-up seat panel etc.


  12. Economy must be REALLY narrow and torturous so that Economy plus sells better.

  13. Where the rubber hits the road is when a new fuselage comes along. The fuselage width choice governs the layout choices.
    A330 8x/9x at about 18.5″ or 16.5″ seats
    A350 9x/10x at 18″ or 16″
    A220 5x/6x at 19″ or 15.5″, will it happen?
    787 8x/9x at 19.5″ or 17.5″, we know how that went.

    Next up is the 797 fuselage, 2-2-2 or 2-3-2, some options:

    6x/7x at 19″ or 16.5″ seats
    170″ interior width, versus 186″ for 767.
    A real choice between comfort and basic economy, and a better chance at more cabins configured and upsold to 2-2-2, or

    6x/7x at 20″ or 17.5″ seats
    178″ interior width, the choice they will probably go with.

    • Looking forward to see what’s Boeing’s plans with the NMA seat layout is.

      Maybe something interesting (assuming 2-3-2) like 17.5″ for the two window seats and middle seat while 17″ for the four aisle seats, guess 19″ aisle standard.

      On the other end of the scale will be interesting to know how much wetted area, weight and building costs will add and eventually seat mile cost if you go 18″ seats and 21″aisles?

        • @neutron73:
          “United has somehow managed to refit their 767s for 18.5 in a 2-3-2 layout..”
          The math physically works out fine so I don’t understand the “somehow” part in your comment:
          Max cabin diameter= 186″
          How many seats+aisles across= 9
          Width space per seat or aisle= 20.67″
          Typical total armrest width per seat= 2″
          Theoretical effective seat width between armrests= 18.67″

          By similar math, 350 operators, regardless of their seat width choices, only has 20. 09″ width space across 11 seats or aisles to play with….

    • @Ted:
      “A350 9x/10x at 18″ or 16″

      787 8x/9x at 19.5″ or 17.5″, we know how that went”
      Yes, I do know how that went: So many folks on aviation forums “somehow” believe 0.45″ difference in usable width space per seat can turn the 787 in 9 abreast into hell and 350 in 9 abreast into heaven…..

    • That remains to be seen. My take is that production cost of the A330neo are significantly lower than those of the 787, with comparable efficiency, range and capacity and Airbus will be using this cost advantage in future sales pitches.

  14. In the diagram what does “Seating abreast +3″ mean?
    Also, 2.5m is not 130”. Maybe that is nautical meters.

      • Uwe/Ted – I’m glad we’ve resolved that, then. Off-topic I know, but next let’s try to help folk in the New World over the differences between – and among – 2,240-pound (Imperial) tons, 2,205-pound metric ton(ne)s, and 2,000-pound U. S. (short) tons…

  15. Many commented on the 8/9 abreast seating. Personally I wouldn’t put this on airbus. Afterall, they did not designed a new fuselage for the A330neo. They juz did some small tweaks to the existing A330 fuselage which lets not forget originated from the A300 which was “ancient”. The egronomics of the fuselage was based on back then. That being said, this was also part of the manufacturer’s startegy to allow the airlines the flexibility to choose between different seating configurations. This way, they can cover all the different markets be it LCC or premium carriers. This is also part of the factors why LCC skewed towards the A330. Premium carriers wouldn’t dare to cramp 9 abreast onto a A330, but for the LCCs like Airasia, you literally get what you pay. Having an additional seat in each row gives the LCC the advantage they need to lower their ticket price. On the other hand, for the premium carriers, the wider 8 abreast seats becomes a clear distinction for them and differentiates their product from the LCC. Therefore this fuselage is capable of satisfying both ends of the markets and imho really hits the sweet spot.

    • Vince – “for the LCCs like AirAsia, you literally get what you pay [for]…”. Well, that’s no bad thing, if the alternative is not getting it. Carriers survive by selling above cost, so pax in first-class may get ‘less than they pay for’ to a greater degree than do those in third-class. You can never sell enough seats below cost to make a profit, as countless former-wannabe operators know.

  16. See AirAsiaX is looking at converting some of their 34 A339 “options” to A321’s, was wondering if AB would like to bring the 338’s into play here for longer haul routes that could be out of reach by the 339’s and give the 338 some momentum in the market?

    But also know what Transworld would say, “kicking it down the runway”.

    • @Anton, Not likely. You gotta look at where is Airasia’s hub is. They operate out of south east asia (Indonesia, Malaysia & Thailand). The A339 is already capable of covering New zealand and all european destinations, so the extra range from the A338 doesnt really matter much. The only region out of reach is north and south america, of which, we all know you need the A350ULR to reach. A direct Hawaii route would be the only possibilty for the A338, but that also means they’ll need a maximum of 2 planes to fly that particular route.
      On the other hand the A321neo which in this case i believe would be the LR variant would open up numerous markets destination to airasia which was previously beyond reach with the A32oceo/neo. Routes originating from secondary hubs like Penang, Johor Bahru, Phuket, Bali and many more can now be connected direct to major destinations like tokyo, beijing, sydney and melbourne. This would be a massive game changer in the region just like how the A321LR would impact the trans-atlantic routes.

      • Not sure what an A339’s range will be in AirAsiaX high density layout (~380 seats?), KL to London 5700Nm. An A338 in high density should make this with ease while the US West coast will be in reach of an 338 in high density from their hubs in Manila, Taipei, Hong Kong, etc.

        Even Chicago could be on the radar at 6500Nm when operating from Taipei for example.

        But to be honest, who wants to fly more than 10 hours in an A330 with 9 abreast layout?

        • @Anton, Unfortunely Airasia doesn’t operate from Taipei, Manila and Hong Kong. They operate from KL,Bangkok & Jakarta, which even the A338 will not be much use. In any case, Airasia currently doesn’t operates any flights above 9hrs. So the A338 is really not something they are even considering.
          Furthermore you are right about nobody wanting to fly 10 hours cramp up in an A330 9 abreast seat. That’s why airasia’s London Gatwick to KL route wasn’t sucessful and airasia suspended the service a few years ago.
          However, Airasia’s “flat” bed premium class could potentially be a tempting offering. They cost somewhere between the price of a economy standard to an economy flexi on singapore airlines. Some travellers may be tempted to make the switch for long haul flights.

          • @Vince:
            “…nobody wanting to fly 10 hours cramp up in an A330 9 abreast seat.”
            May be.

            “..That’s why airasia’s London Gatwick to KL route wasn’t successful”
            No, it wasn’t the reason because:
            1. No 333 in 9abreast has ever been deployed by AAX on that route. Leased 343s were deployed.
            2. AAX’s 343s were exclusively configured in the typical 2-4-2 layout.
            3. Relatively poor op economics of the 343 were stabbing the financial performance of KUL-LGW for AAX with many wounds.
            4. The route was launched just when oil price started to spike and when the U.K.(along with the rest of the EU) econ growth rate slowed down dramatically +unemployment rate went up….adding tons of salt to the wounds.

            “and airasia suspended the service a few years ago.”
            Termination was effective fm 2012 so far longer than “a few years ago”.

            “Airasia’s “flat” bed premium class could potentially be a tempting offering”
            They may brand it as “flat bed” for knowledge consumption by the general public but technically, it is not by the cabin industry’s standard. It’s an inclined /ski-slope style lie-flat seat design…..or our J class seat set-up @ a 170 degree angle that was typical across longhaul carriers worldwide over a decade ago.

            Though such design is still superior to the best PY seat design available today in terms of sleep comfort & space.

            “They cost somewhere between the price of a economy standard to an economy flexi on singapore airlines”
            Disagree. AAX’s fare for premium class is consistently similar to a PY seat on SQ(or similar legacy carriers) on similar route sectors.

    • @Vince:
      “The 242T A339 cannot make the KL-Western Europe flight without payload restriction.”
      Which should motivate @ least some of us(i.e. those who has the ability to resist buying a manufacturer’s PR messages @ full face value and immune to national/regional patriotic bias) to “re-think” how well the notional range specs published by Airbus on product brochure actually translate into real-world mission planning by real operators(e.g. AirAsiaX assessing 339 deployment for KUL-LGW) in real config:
      KUL-LGW geog distance = 5,723nm
      Typical KUL-LGW mission distance accounting for headwind+traffic = about
      Max range spec of 339 @ 242t MTOW(not the 251t version available only fm 2020) published by Airbus = 6,550nm

      So according to Airbus, 339 @ 242t can do KUL-LGW….but not according to its AirAsiaX operator. I bet U the diff in seat count i.e. Airbus nominal @ 287 seats vs AirAsiaX’s config @ 377 seats for 333 fleet today + the need to install crew rest module in the 339 belly(None of AirAsiaX’s 333 has installed nor require crew rest module today) explains the discrepancy in 339 range capability…

      I suspect even for the upcoming 251t MTOW version, 339 may struggle in AirAsiaX’s longhaul config(i.e. additional OEW fm crew rest module in the belly, larger galley, etc.) plus payload fm 377 pax+bags on intercon routes such as KUL-LGW.

Leave a Reply

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