Pontifications: A330ceo P2F picks up steam

By Scott Hamilton

Aug. 16, 2021, © Leeham News: Freighter conversions for the Airbus A330ceo are picking up steam as the inventory jumps following the COVID-19 pandemic.

There are 20 A330s that have been converted: 13 -300s and seven -200s. Package carrier DHL converted eight -300s, the most of any operator. It has contracts to convert 20 more, reports Cargo Facts.

The combined 40 P2Fs exceeds the number of A330-200Fs that was built fresh off the factory line—38.

Most observers consider the new A330-200F program a failure, although this may be a narrow view. While commercial sales were disappointing, the -200F was a companion program to the A330 Multi-Role Tanker Transport. There are so far 61 orders for the MRTT; as of last month, 48 were delivered. Looking at this as one program off the same platform, this means there were 99 orders to date.

Airbus and Lockheed Martin have joined to bid on the US Air Force contract for between 140-160 refueling tankers in the KC-Y competition that begins shortly. Boeing will offer the KC-46A, based on the 767-200ER platform. Lockheed last week announced it will rebrand the MRTT the LMXT.

High surplus of A330s

On June 30, there were 249 A330-200s and 245 A330-300s in storage. With the slow recovery in wide-body passenger traffic, most of the A330ceos probably will not return to service, providing ample feedstock for freighter conversion.

Ten-year-old A330-200s have a recent current market value of $21m, according to the UK firm Ishka. The -300s are worth $26m. The 15-year-old value for the -200 is $12m; Ishka hasn’t published a recent CMV for a 15 year old -300.

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Also, at the end of June, there were 132 Boeing 767-300ER passenger airplanes in storage. As LNA wrote in its post, A History of Freighter Aircraft, the 767 dominates US cargo operations, which is in turn dominated by FedEx and UPS. Amazon Prime is an emerging 767-300ERF user. Most of the 132 stored 767-300ERs are already 25-30 years old. The age may limit some P2F conversion, but there remains reasonable feedstock for 767-operators to add to their fleet or replace the oldest 767Fs reaching life-limited maintenance status. There are about 45 767-200Fs, all P2Fs, in service with cargo airlines. These operators may elect to upgrade to 767-300ERFs, although DHL is a 767-200F airline switching to A330-300s.

Freighter sales

It’s useful to look at freighter sales of the 767-300ERF, A330F and 777F.

A330-200F Customer





North America


South America
BOC Aviation


Asia Pacific
Etihad Airways


Middle East
Malaysia Airlines


Asia Pacific
MNG Airlines


Qatar Airways


Middle East
Turkish Airlines




Total Ex-North America



767-300F Customer



All Nippon Airways


Asia Pacific
Asiana Airlines


Asia Pacific
Azerbaijan Airlines


Middle East
DHL International




North America
Japan Airlines


Asia Pacific
Latam Airlines Group


South America


North America


North America


Total Ex-North America


The popularity of the 767-300F is down to the USA.

The rest of the world didn’t take the 767F better than the A330-200F… if anything it was even worse.

On the other hand, the 777F has been a global success:


777F Deliveries

North America


Middle East


Asia Pacific








South America




Vincent Valery contributed to this article.

155 Comments on “Pontifications: A330ceo P2F picks up steam

  1. Hello Scott

    I’m not sure how the A330-200F and the MRTT can be linked.
    First MRTT were without maindeck cargo door if i recall
    An no MZFW boost, no blister…

    But it seems it is linked with the 235/238t versions of the Pax A330’s

    Best regards

    • I have the same question. I can’t see how the A330F is linked to the A330 MRTT. (?)

      The A330 MRTT is not available in a cargo variant. It is pax only on the main deck. Its main function is troop transportation and refueling fighter jets. Cargo can only be transported on the lower deck.

      There are several A330 MRTT in service that is converted from second hand pax A330-200, and recently Spain was acquiring Iberia A330-200 for MRTT conversion.

      There isn’t any A330F that has been converted to an A330 MRTT, as far as I know.

      The A330 MRTT inherit its fuelsystem from the A340, and uses engine position number 1 and 4 is for the refuling pods. It is therefore unlikely that an A330neo could easily be converted to an MRTT, as commonality with the A340 have been removed due to optimalisations.

      • The A330 MRTT is not available in a cargo variant. It is pax only on the main deck. Its main function is troop transportation and refueling fighter jets. Cargo can only be transported on the lower deck.

        Here we go again….

        Airbus has indeed been offering the A332F freighter version as a base for the MRTT if a client nation had wanted to select that option with a cargo door and a reinforced floor that are able to accommodate 151 lb/in running loads (same spec as the A332F). AFAIK, the only operator that seriously considered the A332F as a base for their MRTT was the Armée de l’Air.

        There are several A330 MRTT in service that is converted from second hand pax A330-200, and recently Spain was acquiring Iberia A330-200 for MRTT conversion. There isn’t any A330F that has been converted to an A330 MRTT, as far as I know.

        Converting an A332F to a MRTT configuration would only require a Supplemental Type Certificate (STC) since all A330 types share the same Type Certificate Data Sheets (TCDS) .

        Off course, this would lead to increased costs for which a customer would have to pick up the tab. In fact, the USAF would have picked up that tab if Boeing had not protested the KC-X contract award to Northrop Grumman in 2008.

        The A330 MRTT inherit its fuelsystem from the A340, and uses engine position number 1 and 4 is for the refuling pods. It is therefore unlikely that an A330neo could easily be converted to an MRTT, as commonality with the A340 have been removed due to optimalisations.


        Yes, it’s true that the A330-200 wing shares the same design structure, including the strengthened mounting points, as that of the four-engine A342/A343 aircraft. The wing positions for mounting the air-to-air refuelling pods, therefore, require minimal modification. On an A330 MRTT, the aircraft’s refueling system includes the installation of the A342/A343 pipework and controls to the wing mounted refueling pods which are located at the same positions as engine number 1 and 4 on the A342/A343. Furthermore, since the refueling pods don’t require the A330 MRTT being outfitted with the different A342/A343 wing leading-edge slat system — and keeping in mind that the A332/A333 have identical wing trailing edge flaps and ailerons as the A342/A343 and that the mounting position for engines 1 and 4 on the A342/A343 and the A330 MRTT wing-mounted refueling pods are identical and located at the point on the wing where the ailerons “meet” the flaps — the MRTT modification to the basic A330 airframe is a relatively trivial and a much less complex undertaking than what was required for the installation of the wing-mounted pods on the KC-135, KC-10 and the KC-46 for which no previously designed mounting structure was available.

        • Its an area that we have not seen any real reporting on, you have to been deep into the program to follo0w those details.

          That said, I have been familiar with the A330MRT/A330F and I agree with OV-O99. Certainly no where near in the depth on slats etc.

          So maybe score some points for the A340 for contributing to the A330MRT success.

          Boeing of course has had nothing but misery on the Drogues pods on the 767T and the KC-46 for different reason.

    • I thought that the UKs tankers were passenger varients and in fact 2 of them were chartered out flying holidaymakers until recently. Also I thought that at least some of the aussie planes were passenger conversions.
      Americanising the the A330 is going to be expensive and risks severe mission creep,as is setting up a new production line.
      We have to see what exactly the USAF actually wants/needs, but if they fancy something bigger then the 777 comes into the frame. Presumably the mission system can be ported over from the 767 Boeing already has a production line and is extremely short of orders

      • The UK tanker system on the A330 is such a convoluted mess I can’t keep up with it.

        Some indeed do not have the Drogue system and in fact were or have been leased out for passenger service and the UK Military uses some for the same purpose (the US just charters the excess needs if and when they are there out)

        I don’t see a 777 tanker. Extremely limited mission set and a vast overkill.

        The A330MRT would fill the KC-10 slot nicely if that is what they are after but with the USAF, it changes its mind minute by minute so until we see the public side of the RFP, you can’t assess it.

    • “””MRTT were without … MZFW boost”””

      The MZFW boost for the -200F was only 3t (173t MZFW for the 233t A330-200F and 170t MZFW for the 233t A330-200), achieved with an empty wing box. For a tanker it makes sense to keep the center wing box fueled, so no MZFW boost for the MRTT.
      This 173t MZFW is the max the A330ceo fuselage can take with stabilizer trim tank. Without stabilizer trim tank max 178t MZFW for the A330ceo and this allows 70t payload for the 200F.

      • tank volume for the A330-200 is 139kl ~~ 109t fuel.
        Thus an MTOW beyond 232t does not bring anything to the pure tanker role.
        ( But MTOW beyond that would allow to carry additional cargo in the tanker role.)

        • Yes, it does if Airbus would choose to use the A345’s 19,930 litre (16,000 kg or 5,265USgal) rear centre tank (RCT) design on a 251 metric tonne MTOW A338 MRTT.

          16 metric tonnes more fuel takes the MTOW up to 248 metric tonnes — leaving 3 metric tonnes for extra weight of the RCT structure.

          Similar to what’s being done with the RCT on the A321XLR, the A345’s RCT is a permanently installed fuel tank located in the lower fuselage outside the pressurised area, aft of the centre landing gear bay.

          • The 139090L fuel the A338 could take would be enough for a tanker, no additional RCT needed. There would not be much payload left anyway.

            MTOW doesn’t help with a RCT, higher MZFW is needed.
            It will be the same with the XLR. The XLR must have a higher MZFW, otherwise it would be similar restricted as the LR (with only 180 pax for 4000nm for the LR).
            Because of this higher MZFW the XLR will have, it makes sense to use this higher MZFW on a freighter.

          • Higher MZFW would obviously help increase the payload capability of a 251 tonne A338F, but is obviously not critical for a 251 tonne A338 MRTT.

            In case you don’t know; in pure tanker mode, the A330 MRTT is not carrying much cargo at all (if any), except for a 4 -8 person crew. In contrast, the A321 XLR will regularily be carrying a 20-25 tonne payload. Hence, a higher MZFW is not required for a more capable A338 MRTT.

            Therefore, a 251 tonne MTOW A338 MRTT with an A345-type RCT and a total fuel capacity of 159,000 litres, Trent 7000 engines and improved aerodynamics, would have a significant better fuel off-load capability than the current A332 MRTT.

            So, the A332 MRTT has the capacity of off-loading 50,000 kg of fuel to a broad range of receivers during a four-hour loitering mission at over 1,000 nm from its take-off point, while an A338 MRTT should be able to off-load at least 65,000 kg in the same mission scenario.

          • Back to why? You are not going to match a KC-10.

            And the big offloads are in the KC-10 area, the day in day out vast majority mission is distributed (smaller tankers in larger numbers)

            In this case with one Boom, you need numbers as well as quantity. A mission package has to be able to top up the full flight, it does no good to have the first one needing fuel again before you are done.

            So no, the A330NEO is not going to happen as there is not enough cost benefit in it for that to begin to occur.

            If latest fuel efficiency whiz bang counted, we would have had a 787 tanker submital.

    • I agree with other commentators: there is no link between -200F and MRTT. The MRTT are converted PAX a/c and the -200F is a completely different aircraft structural-wise not only due to the main cargo door and NLG bump, but also underneath the skin.

      • Having said that…. I think that the USAF wants main deck cargo capability as well.
        It would be absolutely stupid to ignore national interest, so a way will be found to help out GE and Boeing, no matter how they got into this mess. A mix of 767 and 777?Or take the veiw that you are quietly taking over airbus, who already do a lot of their manufacturing in the US. I just don’t see any industrial strategy at the moment.

        • Grubbie:

          The data showed the USAF does not operate its tanker fleet in a way that the Cargo is a significant factor (ergo the last RFP did not make that a bonus)

          The mistake is to compare small lot buys of tankers (UK, France etc) with the US that has 500 tankers.

          The US stations the tankers in specific areas, some locale where there is a lot of training activity (Nevada, Alaska etc) and others on well treaded routes (Spain) – some in active combat areas.

          As I often stated, you can’t haul cargo and tanker at the same time. The US has a fleet of C-17/C-5 for that as well as the CRAF fleet.

          Rarely a group of tankers will drag a squadron out to deployment and they will have on board personal and equipment, but its a small sub set.

          Others do a lot of cross training (Australia) and you can see the advantage of the A330MRT for them (and yes those were used hulls)

          Some of it is parochial in the European Tanker Fleets, but that is a given (though Boeing was not even invited to bid on those!)

          The only one I saw not makes sense was Korea who does not deploy abroad. 767T or the KC-46 made more sense, but they also got the A330MRT a lot sooner so………….

          • The data showed that the USAF was not able to operate its KC-135 tanker fleet for real cargo operations but did use the KC-10 excessive as cargo aircraft. For one of the Gulf Wars KC-10 was exempted from refueling missions because the fleet was required for transport.

            Here something to read:

            It is nonsense to burn through the life of expensive freighters like C-17 or C-5 to move parcels or troops around. To move freight or troops from the US to the Persian gulf a C-17 needs refueling. A KC-10, KC-45 or KC-46 could go direct without refueling.

            USAF wouldn’t need to pay for CRAF usage in case of a decent mobility platform. KC-135 was a tanker only and therefor gets that old.

            Many nations did order the MRTT for another reason: a national carrier was already operating an A330. Japan and Italy on the other side have companies building parts for 767.

          • MHalblaub:

            You keep missing the point.

            You cannot carry cargo and run fueling missions at the same time.

            What you view as a wasted asset the USAF views as a huge benefit in having lots to tanker available when they need them in a given area (domestic training as well as foreign ops)

            You also then say a C-17 and C-5M should not be wasted doing what they are supposed to, despite the fact that you have invested in not only the airframe but you have to staff with pilots, support personal, maintainers, hangers and tooling for same.

            You can not tank and carry cargo at the same time. So what you are proposing is to stop ops, carry cargo, then resume ops?

            While your C-17 and C-5 fleet sits there doing nothing?

            The reality is its a mix of the assets. The Reserve Fleet has a minimum tasking commitment for the Airlines to participate . Excess is paid if you use them more.

            They alwyas use more than the minimum for the CRAF.

            Your least cost is to use up other peoples aircraft while keeping your own fleet active, mission capable.

            Yes there are times when its all hands on deck, but you can also add onto the CRAF fleet use.

            Its a balance and you can bet the USAF is not just wearing out C-17s and C-5.

            In 30 years they will be obsolete and not get your use out of them?

            C-5 upgrade cost were enormous. That too was a balance between an all new vs upgrade as you really can’t build anything that is significant enough better to make it worth the cost (but also they are not worn out, or have been through life extensions. )

            C-17 may well go the same way as you are not going to get anything better as the costs are still 200 million a copy and the aerodynamics and engines are not advanced to change that . You get most of it with a NEO.

          • @TransWorld: “You cannot carry cargo and run fueling missions at the same time.”

            Peak need for cargo and peak refueling do not overlapp in war time. Refueling is a rare occasion in peace time compared to cargo and troop movement. “You keep missing the point.”

            “While your C-17 and C-5 fleet sits there doing nothing?”
            These are precious assets with a limited life time used to move outsized cargo like tanks or ready to go helicopter. A civil aircraft is rather cheap. USAF mentioned that C-17 lifetime is running out faster than expected.
            “You keep missing the point.”

            “In 30 years they (C-5 and C-17) will be obsolete and not get your use out of them?”
            When will transporting outsized cargo be obsolete?

            “Your least cost is to use up other peoples aircraft while keeping your own fleet active, mission capable.”
            Really? No. One of the most expensive aircraft in USAF inventory is KC-135 due to low rate of usage. Google about “time value of money” or “Return on Investment”.

          • I saw that but had not found a place to insert it that was relevant.

            History is a good thing to read, these programs go one of two ways, they eventually sucked or they fail.

            The C-17 is now considered the benchmark of a troubled program that worked its issues out and is an outstanding success.

            You have to look at the core and the complexity and there was nothign at the core of the KC-46 that could not be fixed.

            Most of it should never have to be fixed, no question on that.

            Looking at the very ball park figures lower down, its does put the A330MRT into perspective with USAF needs.

            If you don’t need or operate such that the cargo/passenger capability brings a significant bonus to the table, the KC-46 is a bit better than the KC-135R and very close to the A330MRT for fuel (and again, that is ugly ballpark, you can play with mission profiles till the cows come home and prove how wondrous the A330MRT can be, but it always comes back to real world realistic applications.

            If its a rare or completely unused in real world capability then its not relevant.

    • The KC-45 was required to have a main deck cargo door according to USAF requirements for KC-X contest. So the development for the main deck cargo door was already in progress. Maybe also the lowered forward landing gear.

      The MRTT is available with a main deck cargo door but all current orders are for standard passenger seating or even VIP-seating because it’s cheaper (standard seating).

      The USAF KC-46 needs a main deck cargo door because the belly of the 767 is full of fuel tanks. MRTT can still carry a lot cargo in its belly because all fuel is carried within standard tanks not occupying cargo space. To carry troops USAF needs palletized seating.

      • No disagreement.

        Why would you have a belly full of fuel and carry passengers or freight?

        You will not be refueling anything until your non fuel load is delivered.

        You will pick up fuel at your operating air field (assuming you shift over to the air refueling role at that point). You do not air transport fuel if at all possible, its an insane cost to do so.

        We do it in Alaska as some villages have no other option (no road, no navigable river). It adds $8 a gallon to their fuel costs.

        • RAAF’s KC-30s do it on regular base to transfer new fighter aircraft to locations with personal and spare parts also refueling. So instead of several aircraft to transport personal, spare parts and refuel fighter jets you need just one.

          You would have a belly full of fuel in case of a KC-46 but not for an A330MRTT.

  2. I think all the building blocks are there for a very capable MRTT NEO. The higher MTOW, cargo door, level cargodeck/landing gear and the ability to carry a bigger / heavier engine like GENX will probably show up in LM’s proposal. Maybe even additional fuel tank capacity lower deck.

    • I wonder of a A321LR or A321XLR based tanker might work with a cargo door and optionally an extra pair or ACT’s. The A321 is about the size of the KC135. The Israel Airforce was looking at the concept of a regional tanker and the future of small tankers may be UAV refuelling. In fact they can be configured as control centres for the UAV.

      • keejse:

        Its the added cost and then the lost investment in the A330CEO MRT that stops the move.

        That is why the 767 makes sense. When you use your tankers under 1000 hours a year, the added benefit its not there and you then have the engine issue that would be a major cost in and of itself.

        Airbus will continue to stick with the A330CEO for the base aircraft.

        • It is rather cost intensive to use airframes over 50..60 or even more years ( because of low utilization.)

          Go for combined use and use the planes up in a reasonable timeframe.

          The Airforce going the resource squandering path is really no valid argument.

          • Uwe:


            The US bases tankers all around the world in semi permanent location (some permanent in US though they can be dispatched on need).

            The basing setup is done on an assessment of not being short of tankers in that location. Crewing is done on the basis of having enough pilots but not a surplus.

            So, the way the US operates (others are different) is that they do not use the tankers for freight because the tankers are then out of position for their primary role.

            Rarely does a tanker drag out a fighter squadron to a posting, if they do they carry some freight and some passengers to have the minimum needed for squadron ops or support when they get there.

            The is why the KC-X RFP did not emphasize freight, in US ops its not a factor.

            Clearly others have assessed their ops differently.

            The US splits up the freight and passengers into C-17/C-5 as well as charters and the Civilian Freight fleet (they also have access to passenger fleet if needed).

            Its a system that meets the goals and in an emergency yes you can assess taking a tanker from a US base that is doing training and dispatch it as a pax or freight flight.

            You are going to impact training which in an emergency on a short term basis certainly can be done, long term you shoot yourself in the foot.

            Australia, Singapore, for example do not operate the way the US does not do they have the area, population or resources.

            I respect their choice as being what they assessed worked best for them. That does not begin to mean it works for the US.

          • @TransWorld

            bringing up US Military procedures as proof of an optimal solution is an oxymoron.

    • The GEnx-2B67B used on the B747-8 might be used on the A330-200 ceo to create a neo-“light”. The GEnx-2B67B has 66500lbs thrust and the previously used on the A330ceo CF6-80E1 65,800–69,800 lb

      • Again, brings the question: what for? The GEnx-2B67B are ~500kg each heavier. So, you must do things for weights and balance and all the recertification. And if you do this anyway, why not taking a version of the larger fan (and therefore more fuel efficient) -1B70? Making a real alternat engine NEO – that you could offer also to airlines?
        Anyone an idea of the terms of “exclusivity” for RR on the A330neo/350?

        • Because the A330-200 wing and the A340-300 wing had the same structure. The outer engine attachment points the were an vestigial appendix in the A330-200 were easily used for the refuelling pods. I’m not sure how difficult it would be to restore the attachment points in a hypothetical m A330-800 MRTT. Did airbus have a plan.

          • Same question. What is the point?

            Fuel use is not a huge issue on a tanker or a Freighter. That is why the 767 continues to work well.

            The A330MRT works equally fine in its role for those that bought it.

            And by doing so you are incurring costs that do not get returned and a split fleet.

          • Fuel efficiency is a battle/war winner and military aircraft are designed for war.

          • I guess DHL and UPS are interested in A350 freighter because of its superior fuel efficiency.

          • Grubbie:

            Can you list one instance that fuel efficiency won a battle?

            Performance is what counts.

            If you compare an A330MRT fuel use to a KC-46, yes the lower fuel burn means the KC-46 is more economical and winds up a fair amount of money for the life of a program.

            KC-135R got CFM engine because of the maint/obsolete issue with the old J57, as well as a huge performance increase in fuel offload.

            Its worth up-engine old tankers (the KC-135E got interim PW TF-33).

            Unless you can prove that a A330NEO tanker provides that kind of offload increase and maint reduction, then its a waste and Airbus is not going to do it.

            Reality is Airbus needs to make money on the A330MRT and an A330MRT-NEO only costs and its competitor sells for so much less that it would tip things to the KC-46 favor.

            Some day you may see the KC-46 with an Gen X engine upgrade.

            You won’t see a 787 tanker.

          • “Fuel use is not a huge issue on a tanker or a Freighter.”

            LH to retire its last MD-11 next month. I guess it has to do about the fleet type’s fuel economy.

          • @transworld, I presume that you have heard of the Atlantic gap during WW2? Aircraft had insufficient range to protect convoys from U boats. Or allied fighters over Germany having insufficient range to protect bombers all the way to the target?Or any war where the enermy outruns its supplies.
            Re engineing the B52 will dramatically increase its range and strip out the need for dozens of tankers. During the Falklands war tankers refuelled tankers that refuelled tankers that refuelled tankers in order to refuel one bomber on a long range mission. This would have been so much simpler, cheaper and more effective with A330neo and B52 neo

          • “””If you compare an A330MRT fuel use to a KC-46, yes the lower fuel burn means the KC-46 is more economical and winds up a fair amount of money for the life of a program.”””

            The 767-300ER burns more fuel than the A330-200.
            The 767-400ER burns more fuel than the A330-300.
            That’s why 767 were retired and A330 only parked.

          • @Leon: The KC-46 is based on the 767-200ER, not the larger airplanes.

          • @ Pedro
            Fuel economy might — in the past — have been less of an issue for freighters. However, the evolving nature of air freight places new demands on fuel economy. Particularly where parcel post for eCommerce is concerned, shipping costs have to be kept as competitive as possible.

          • “Can you list one instance that fuel efficiency won a battle?”
            It has not been as big an issue for the USA as it has for other countrie4s but I can name some occasions.

            1 The P-51D Mustang had much greater efficiency than the P-47C/D and apart from the greater range it was just cheaper to build and keep fuelled allowing more to be in service. The fuelling issue becomes critical in global scale conflicts.
            2 The German army during operation Barbarossa got stuck in the Raspadarua, the spring thaw. They had semi trailers and some 4WD trucks and even some 6WD but the main way they got through 2 foot deep mud was half tracks that towed the trucks that increased their fuel consumption 8 times above estimate. What they needed was 6WD trucks like the US had from the timber industry.
            3 Same conflict Battle of Stalingrad: The Ju 52/3m could lift as much as a DC3/C54 but could only carry it 45% as far at 60% of the speed as a result the Luftwaffe needed more fuel and more aircraft to do the same number of trips. The Luftwaffe airfields were so close to the Red Army over ran them and they were under attack by the VVS.

            I note the Su 27 (and S52 an unrefuelled range of up to 2400 miles and has highly capable strike and long range two seat variants. It’s not a good idea to have many bases in range of such a capable aircraft.

            I’m also thinking that with decarbonisation of air travel that its going to be harder to find copious quantities of local jet fuel or any petrochemicals.

            So performance is an issue.

            No doubt KZC46 is a capable aircraft able to provide in flight refuelling, help deploy troops and perform medivac. The question is is there something better.

          • “””The KC-46 is based on the 767-200ER, not the larger airplanes.”””

            I mentioned only fuel burn of the 767 and A330ceo to get an idea of the family fuel burn.
            According to wikipedia:
            54.94m 767-300
            50.50m KC-46
            48.51m 767-200
            188.24t KC-46
            186.9ot 767-300ER/F
            179.20t 767-200ER
            If the trip fuel burn of the 767 is higher than the A330ceo, the KC-46 won’t perform better than the A330MRTT, especially when the A330family can do much more.

        • fuesioterrapoit – how many meanings does ‘exclusive’ have? I suspect the same as ‘unique.’

        • @fuesioterrapoit

          >Anyone an idea of the terms of “exclusivity” for RR on the A330neo/350?

          I don’t know for sure, but I’d guess that the contract between the two says that RR is *the* engine supplier to any of the existing (and possibly future) models of A330neo and A350, or Airbus owes them a ton of cash.

        • Think RR got an exclusivity on the A350 pretty late after lots of GEAE managers realized they will never be CEO’s of Boeing and thus started to look at the A350 again. Then it was too late. The 787 GEnX got PIP’d with a slightly bigger fan and the -2B never got the same treatment, so if the USAF decides to give the work to LM and GE there might be money for a GEnX-C2A1 engine onto the A330neo MRTT made in America?

  3. I don’t think higher MTOW is possible. because MTRR is based on common wing of A330/340, which limits MTOW to 233t.

      • Common wing doesn’t mean equal MTOW, quite opposite, the better weight, force and moment distribution provided by four smaller engines allows up to 20% higher MTOW.

  4. The B777F popularity is rests on its intercontinental range (which the A330F and B767-300F don’t have) and efficiency which the older aircraft lack as well.

    After Christmas 2015, a China Cargo Airlines 777F carrying 100 tonnes of Chilean cherries and blueberries landed in Shenyang’s Taoxian Airport.

    Shenyang is the closest major Chinese city to Santiago and China Cargo flight flew (18,500 km, with a stop in Los Angeles) was just the “first of a regular line of charter flights that will bring fresh fruits from Chile to Shenyang.” according to Xinhua new agency.

    People must have their blueberries, avocado , raspberries, Peruvian asparagus, red grapes etc.

    I’ve seen Tasmanian Blueberries from my native Australia in Dubai at the same price I pay in Australia. Whole new industries have been created. I think 12000 tons of blueberries ship to Europe from Sth African per year. This is not only a new trade, it is a new industry that otherwise wouldn’t exist.

    Whole new industries have been created. Plodding and fuel inefficient B767 and A330 P2F save a few days rail journey transcendental.

    These kinds of flights will need a B777-XF or A350-950F. Not sure of the B787-8 or A340-500/600 have the efficiency. (A340 lots of underfloor cargo)

    • @William

      Point taken about fruit taking the plane big business

      But evcn if the price is the same they taste of travel

      • So people lament the strange taste of the stuff when
        they travel to the place of origin 🙂

        • William:

          You miss the fact that tonnage is not the huge issue with tankers.

          US average data says the tankers bring back most of their fuel (yes there would be exceptions for C-17/C-5 and B-52 fueling)

          A tanker can suck off its reserve fuel and go as long as you want.

          Its not what it can carry but getting it to where you need it.

          Mixing a 777F mission with USAF needs is a mistaken comparison.

          By that standard a 747-8F would be the best (or maybe its a use for the retiring A380! (grin)

          • There is a reason for tankers bringing back fuel: reserves!
            In case something goes wrong you wouldn’t like to jeopardize a complete mission. E.g. next tanker has a problem so your tanker has to stay longer.
            Therefore these numbers won’t tell you anything.

            Also looking at how KC-135 was used won’t tell you anything about how a real MRTT like KC-10 or KC-46 are operated. That just makes the KC-46 look better compared to more capable aircraft.

            KC-46 will do more cargo operations than refueling.

            For fast evacuation missions you need an aircraft with range not requiring to refuel at destination.

          • MHalblaub

            For fast evacuation flights you sent a C-17

            You are correct that excess fuel is a buffer (a tanker can’t do its job and others fill in).

            But that does not mean carrying more excess fuel is a benefit. They work the data and determine the buffer needs and more is just excess cost to carry out and back.

          • @Transword: “For fast evacuation flights you sent a C-17”
            In case you want to evacuate tanks or helicopters, yes… but you also need a fleet of tankers to get them to Afghanistan and back.

            “But that does not mean carrying more excess fuel is a benefit.”
            It is now. Only a few KC-135 could be refueled but all KC-X need to have this feature according to specs. The tanker on station can refuel the incoming tanker with his reserves for other aircraft and return (a tanker won’t touch his reserves). So in future tanker may return with less fuel than you expect. A bigger fuel capacity also means more range – Pacific…

            “They work the data and determine the buffer needs and more is just excess cost to carry out and back.”
            Just put the required amount of fuel on an MRTT but in case you have the option for more.

        • @Uwe

          For sure – but now that Intl travel looks set to stay rare they will be spared the discomfort of finding this out

          WfH and EfH

          • Even domestic travel has fallen back to a level last seen in early June. Busy summer is ending.
            News that 27 vaccinated people test positive for on a cruise ship certainly not helpful.

    • William et al — “Whole new industries have been created….
      “These … flights will need a B777-XF or A350-950F. Not sure if the B787-8 or A340-500/600 have the efficiency.”
      And a whole new environmental impact, or more of the same?

      • That China Cargo B777F flight to Shenyang with 100 tons of Chilean blueberries and cherries almost certainly delivered 100 tons of consolidated freight from China to Chile outward bound. The marginal difference in fuel burn between returning an empty aircraft versus returning high value of perishables made the trip worthwhile.

        There may be a future market for some kind of WIG Wing In Ground effect aircraft or giant hovercraft that can transport freight at about 100 knots. Integrating into harbour and existing inland freight operations would be a challenge.

        • @William

          Or just grow the stuff at sea, why not – experiments along these lines I seen on the the ground in East Africa, maybe even made it to the internet

          Have to rip out the tiny plants from the african soil, in order to establish requisite ‘exotic’ provenance

  5. Scott:

    What we really need is one chart with all the wide body F, including the PAX conversions (yes we would have to blow it up to read it)

    It seems Airbus missed on the A330-200F and should have gone with the 300 (sans the cross pollination with the A330MRT)

    So while the 767F is focused in the US, there are a lot of 767 Pax to F conversions that are working outside the US (and mostly if not all done outside the US)

  6. Trying to put the T variants fuel offload into some context. That is with some range for the aircraft itself.

    KC-10: 365,000 lbs

    A330MRT: 245,000

    KC-46: 207,000

    KC-135R: 200,000

    The A330MRT clearly does not offer a major boost on fuel, it does on cargo ability.

    As a 1-1 replacement the KC-46 is clearly the closest direct with some cargo/pax ability the KC-135 lacks.

    Lifetime cost the A330 is going to be more fuel burn and higher maint costs as well as a bigger footprint.

    • A tanker doesn’t supply fuel at MTOW on tarmac to another aircraft.
      At about 1,000 nm away from base with a few hours loiter time an MRTT can provide more fuel to other aircraft than a KC-10. Just look at the normal payload range diagrams.

      The delays due to Boeing’s inability to deliver an aircraft burned a lot of fuel with KC-135 and expensive maintenance (done by Boeing).

      I really looked deep in the models the USAF used to calculate for the second KC-X competition: fuel burn was calculated assuming every aircraft would perform about 7 touch&go maneuvers on average for every flight. That’s real Boeing world there MAX is more save than any other aircraft.

      • MHalblaub:

        The reality is that the A330MRT does not carry that much more fuel and also its the averages that count, not one offs or less common.

        And the replacement number never did add up, even if the KC-Y is thrown in.

        If anything, fuel use and needs have increased (ergo private fuelers filling in)

        The KC-135R is a pretty fuel efficient aircrat (enough to add 80,000 pounds to its offload)

        As the A330MRT can never replace a KC-10, then the logic says 777 (or A350 fueler, yipee)

        But the real world is just like Alaska Airlines as an example. Yes they are moving to MAX, but they will fly the NG for a long time.

        That is averaged into the whole as far as costs.

        The KC-135R are in extremely good condition. Solid program in place to keep them that way.

        And a while back, the USAF said, we will not retire the KC-135R, we will continue to upgrade them as even if the KC-46 fleets was in place tomorrow, we are still short of assets.

        All it means is the USAF will write an RFP based on what they assess the requirements.

        That also means that as the KC-10 is retired can its mission be supported by the existing fleet of KC-135R and KC-46?

        And into that is factored allies and what they offer.

        • ” … its the averages that count …”

          Doubtful. What matters is what missions it can fulfill and what it *can’t* fulfill.

        • “As the A330MRT can never replace a KC-10, then the logic says 777 (or A350 fueler, yipee)”

          What about the type of logic called math?
          Just check the simple range vs. payload diagrams. A 767-2C can’t do the refueling job of a KC-10 but an MRTT can do even better at range.

    • “””A330MRT: 245,000
      KC-46: 207,000
      The A330MRT clearly does not offer a major boost on fuel, it does on cargo ability.”””

      According to wikipedia:
      Fuel capacity:
      118200L KC-46 (achieved with ACT since the 767 has max 91400L)
      139090L A330ceo (without ACT)

      if you need more fuel, it’s not a problem for the Airbus.

  7. Scott, I’m pretty sure Latam Airlines Group is from South America not Europe.

      • TW said above:
        “The UK tanker system on the A330 is such a convoluted mess I can’t keep up with it.”

        No relevancy to this topic.

        • Really? Its seems to me it was mentioned in the write-up. But feel free to correct me if it was not.

          • The MRTT was mentioned in the write-up, in relation to the A330-200F.
            Your inability to grasp what the British are doing with the MRTT was not mentioned in the write-up.

        • @Bryce

          How relevant is why Koreans picked the MRTT? Why our poster here is so obsessed??

  8. I wonder how much of the future market will be supplied by A330 p2F and 773 p2F versus all new. Will it be half the market? It seems like there never has been such a great supply of passenger aircraft for conversion as there is now.

    • And on the subject of Russia:
      “Russian low cost carrier pulls out of Boeing 737 MAX contracts”

      “Moscow (Reuters) – Russian airline Pobeda has pulled out of contracts for 20 Boeing 737 MAX planes, the low cost unit of national flag carrier Aeroflot said on Tuesday.

      Russia has not authorised flights by Boeing 737 MAX planes since a ban that followed two crashes involving the aircraft that killed 346 people in 2018-19.

      “We have given up on firm contracts for 20 Boeings 737 MAX, without any penalties,” Pobeda said in a statement sent to Reuters.”


      • And on the subject of MAX contracts, the fire sale continues: Alaska has converted 12 options *after securing an even bigger discount from Boeing*

        “Alaska Airlines confirmed today that it is accelerating its fleet growth by exercising options early on 12 Boeing 737 MAX 9 aircraft after securing a larger discount from the plane manufacturer. The option aircraft are now firm commitments for 2023 and 2024.

        Alaska announced a restructured agreement with Boeing in December 2020 to acquire 68 737 MAX 9 aircraft between 2021 to 2024, with options for another 52 deliveries between 2023 and 2026. This year, the airline has exercised 25 of the options, including 13 planes in May. As part of this transaction, Alaska will add 25 options to backfill the ones that have been exercised.”


      • This was reported a week or two ago, I think. They are to receive ex-Aeroflot 737ngs instead, whilst Aeroflot goes all-Airbus.

      • @Bryce

        It looks like a pattern: frontrun order announcement in advance of order cancellation. The figure to watch is backlog on hand.

          • Boeing’s future depends on the MAX…and it’s still a deeply troubled program. It’s not obsession…it’s simply facing reality.

          • Yea right, only time I see comments and the MAX sky is falling for the most part.

            But suite yourself, shame that a bright mind is not interested in the tech details.

          • You’re the only one (continuously) using the syntax that “the sky is falling”: others here are just calmly and accurately analyzing the situation (and correcting many inaccuracies in your various comments) 😏

          • @TW

            When did Boeing launch the FSA? Have I missed it??

          • @TW

            Very unfortunate use of ‘the sky is falling’ when referring to the Max

            Please refrain from such evocative language

          • @TW

            The voice of PR, how boring plane accidents are

        • Southwest, United, etc., all these MAX airlines aren’t getting these 737s for less than what it costs to make them. They cannot afford to gut a major, major supplier. Boeing’s still making money. They’re probably getting a standard good deal, and oh maybe some Boeing ball caps. Maybe a lug of those good Washington State pears at Xmas…

          • Yes they can… Down-payment made by the previous defunct airlines are accounted, hence to airlines like alaska or united, taking on a white tail means paying below the cost to make them. But to boeing, they’d still profit as they have received partial payment from the previous buyer. That is why you don’t the Chinese carriers which has received the max prior to the grounding walks away from their commitment.
            In the case of Norwegian, since they are bringing boeing to court to get back their down payments, that may potentially bring a dent to Boeing’s bottomline as it will open the floodgates for other airlines to claw back their down payments as well.

          • “””boeing, they’d still profit as they have received partial payment from the previous buyer”””

            What is a whitetail. It’s when the previous customer canceled the order and got the Pre Delivery Payments back.
            Even defunct airlines will get PDP back because of the MAX mess.
            Boeing earned nothing.

            Many customers canceled orders but then renegotiated the price because Boeing isn’t able to pay back PDP.

            It was said that Boeing lost only $20b on the MAX mess (at one point the loss stopped growing when the MAX was still grounded), but the loss is much more because compensations are not all included in these $20b. Customers get big discounts as a sort of compensation. Boeing is paying for every MAX in the sky because of these compensations. These (future) compensations Boeing has to pay might not even be included in the quaterly earning reports. Turns out in reality Boeing lost much more on the MAX mess.
            Boeing earns nothing.

          • @Leon

            “” What is a whitetail. It’s when the previous customer canceled the order and got the Pre Delivery Payments back.
            Even defunct airlines will get PDP back because of the MAX mess.””
            What are you smoking here? In a typical order contract airlines pay a penalty if they cancel their order without converting their order to other aircraft type offered by the same manufacturer. This penalty is typically a portion or full amount of the PDP paid up to the day of the order contract cancellation. This applies to all aircraft regardless it is the max or not. Same applies to bankrupt airlines. In to case of jet Airways, Their creditors doesn’t get a single dime of PDP back from boeing. Boeing kept all the PDP from jet Airways.

            “”Many customers canceled orders but then renegotiated the price because Boeing isn’t able to pay back PDP.””
            This statement of yours just reiterates my point. Most of the cancellation came from lessors which they just downsized their orders or convert to other aircraft. They still continue to purchase from boeing and make use of the PDP already paid to boeing. For most other airlines that cancelled their orders due to the 737max mess, they very much walked away with credits or discounts for future purchases with boeing instead of their PDP. Hence why most airlines stuck to their max orders and renegotiated their contract with larger discounts. In this instance, Boeing once again kept the PDP and the new prices from the renegotiation probably left boeing with razor thin margins but still profitable. That is why you see the renegotiated orders typically comes with further increase in order quantity.
            So no matter how you look at it, Boeing could easily afford to sell the whitetail below its cost price and still make some profits because boeing had already gained the PDP.
            Its just simple business. You walk into it, we make sure you doesn’t want to leave.

          • @ Vince
            In the case of the MAX, orders can be cancelled without penalty because the current delivery delay (due to the long grounding) triggers unconditional cancellation rights in the sales contracts. That means that BA has to repay any deposits paid. Look, for example, at the news link above w.r.t. the Pobeda cancellation in Russia.

            The same effect is now starting to kick in for an increasing number of delivery-delayed 787s.

            It is this penalty-free cancellation that is decimating BA’s backlog.

          • Haha.

            From the Seattle Times:
            “Alaska won’t have to lay out any cash for these airplanes [737 MAX ordered last year and this year] until next year. Payments for this year’s [twelve] MAX deliveries are already covered by predelivery deposits that Alaska gave Boeing for pending orders before the MAX was grounded in March 2019 …

            Boeing subsequently restructured the terms of Alaska’s prior order for the MAX with discounts to compensate the airline and encourage the follow-on orders.”

          • @Bryce

            Yes. I’m aware of the unconditional cancellation clause for delays over 12 months. That is why I said
            “”For most other airlines that cancelled their orders due to the 737max mess, they very much walked away with credits or discounts for future purchases with boeing instead of their PDP.””
            Boeing did pay them back their PDP money, but it is in the form of credits or discounts for future purchases. These credits are cash equivalent.
            It is just like the air tickets that passengers purchased prior to the pandemic. Most airlines did not refund the amount in cash. Most were given a one or two year credit voucher which you can use to offset your next ticket purchase with the same airline. This example is no different from boeing. All businesses (boeing, airlines, hotels or travel agencies) impacted by such mass cancellation events need to preserve their cash flow and prevent bleeding cash. The most direct way is to issue credit voucher instead of cash. Business secures the transaction amount and doesn’t lose it. For the customer however, it is a use it or lose it situation.
            That is why we see most airlines that stuck with the max being forced to double down on the aircraft. Airlines were forced to use up these credits given to them as compensation for the groundings.

          • @Vince

            Instead of guesstimates based on one’s assumptions, I would rather spend time consulting BA’s SEC filings, looking for e.g. cash payments to customers.

          • Boeing has borrowed $62B since the start of the MAX crisis, and it only has $21B of that left. So that’s $41B of CASH (not credits) that has been handed out. It’s estimated that about $20B of that went to compensating carriers for the MAX grounding, and some of it inevitably went to repaying deposits to cancelling customers. Carriers such as Flyadeal and Pobeda, for example, opted for cash. To date there have 1308 MAX cancellations — that’s a lot of deposits to be repaid.

          • @Bryce

            How much of that dept is balanced by undelivered frames ( which value to use : the one in the books or after looking at and subtracting compensations 🙂

          • There must be a big dark cloud of compensations above Boeing waiting to come down. How big can this cloud be if Alaska has to pay nothing. Are these compensations, which need to be paid one day, calculated and listed in the SEC filings, or are they hidden and kept secret? The $20b loss for the MAX mess was from Feb 2020 and since then it didn’t grow. If $20b are from Mar 2019 till Feb 2020, there might be a loss of $15b from Feb 2020 till Nov 2020.

          • @Uwe and @Leon
            If you look at the Nasdaq link that I posted below, you’ll get an interesting answer to your questions.
            Here’s a relevant quote from the link:

            “In the balance sheet data, we can see that Boeing had liabilities of US$88.2b due within 12 months and liabilities of US$77.2b due beyond that. On the other side, it had US$21.3b in cash and US$11.7b in receivables that were due within 12 months.

            So it has liabilities totaling US$132.4b more than its cash and near-term receivables combined.”


          • @Bryce and others:

            The listing of $88.2bn in current liabilities is correct under accounting rules but misleading in the context of the conclusions drawn. $50.5bn of these are airplane advances and progress payments that under accounting rules are current liabilities, for cash received. When the airplanes are delivered, these advance and progress payments “reverse.” So, in reality, subtract this huge nut from the total of $88.2bn.

          • @ Scott
            You say “WHEN the planes get delivered”…but, in the case of the MAX and 777X, and increasingly in the case of the 787, it might be more accurate to say “IF the planes get delivered”. If a plane doesn’t get delivered, any advance payments received have to be returned — hence the labeling as a liability. Of course, not all of the inventory is going to get canceled / not delivered, but a large part of is uncertain in the context of the current (worsening) crisis — not because of shaky customers but because of customers making use of penalty-free cancellations to dump orders that have become “superfluous” for one reason or another.

          • Whether the planes are deferred or have to be resold, I have no doubt that eventually they will be. The underlying point here is that the conclusion by the article writer that Boeing has $80+bn due within 12 months that represents cash-out-the-door simply is incorrect.

          • @Bryce

            Regarding liability and the value to be assigned to the unsold perhaps unsaleable planes

            It is best to be very prudent: there is no reason to suppose that the market for such will not go from current bad to immediate worse and much worse

            Perhaps many indications that it will

  9. Perhaps LNA should do an article on the changing air freight landscape.
    Today’s air freight is increasingly comprised of parcel post associated with e-commerce — thereby shifting the volume-to-weight considerations relative to “traditional” freight. It’s for this reason that the A330-300P2F is selling so well relative to the factory-built A330-200F: it can carry a higher volume of lower-density freight (parcels). Airbus is even pushing this point on its website –note the following text segment in the link:
    “Designated the A330-300P2F in its converted form, this aircraft is particularly suited for integrators and express carriers due to its high volumetric payload capability with lower-density cargo.”


    Next consideration is the recently increased cost of sea containers — which now cost 10 times as much as before the crisis ($15,000 per unit from China to Europe, versus $1,500 previously). This cost increase (for as long as it lasts) makes it attractive to consider air freight rather than sea shipping for certain categories of product — particularly low-weight, low-cost items such as furnishing accessories, toys, certain electronics, etc. Once again, for transport of this category of freight, the traditional volume-to-weight considerations shift.

    • Bravo, Bryce: “sea containers … now cost ten times as much as before the crisis.” Well done for properly stating the price increase. Much much much too often these days others would have said that the price was “ten times higher than before” which is obviously, demonstrably not the case. End of rant.

      • You dont do long term capital investments (aircraft) because of a short time price effect (seafright prices).
        Those historically high prices for sea freight can only last two more years max. A wave of new megaships will be delivered in two years time and boost capacity. And once harbours worldwide finally get a hold on their current capacity problems, that will free up a sizeable chunk of worldwide seafreight capacity on its own.
        Once long haul aircraft traffic normalizes a bit more, belly capacity will boost airfreight capacity greatly, too.

        • We have many megaships. Have you seen port congestions on the west coast? It’s the ports (and their labor) and other infrastructure like rail that take time to catch up.

        • @nofly

          You assume the sea freight ‘high’ prices to be ‘short term’

          On what grounds?

          It’s not just the ships, it the entire supply chain which is slower and more expensive – except perhaps those who can use the railfreight expansions ex China to EU

          That’s not to mention the disruptions caused by inadequate US infrastructure, as Pedro points out

          There is every reason to believe that supply chains snarls and hikes, underlying trade imbalances, and the other negative externalities (illnesses, warblabla and sanctionmongering) of the current crisis will last for some considerable time

  10. Nasdaq.com has an interesting article this morning regarding Boeing debt.
    Of tangential relevance to the current LNA article, because it concerns BA’s lack of financial maneuvering room when it comes to launching any new programs.

    Of particular interest:

    “In the balance sheet data, we can see that Boeing had liabilities of US$88.2b due within 12 months and liabilities of US$77.2b due beyond that. On the other side, it had US$21.3b in cash and US$11.7b in receivables that were due within 12 months.

    So it has liabilities totaling US$132.4b more than its cash and near-term receivables combined.”


  11. Of interest regarding A320/A321 P2F:
    “BBAM and EFW announce order volume for Airbus A320/A321P2F conversions”

    “The Airbus A320/A321P2F is the first in its size category to offer containerised loading in both the main deck (up to 14 full container positions) and lower deck (up to 10 container positions). EFW’s A320/A321P2F solution, which comes with optimised weight distribution to enable random loading even on empty flights, as well as a payload-range capability of more than 28 metric tons, accords high flexibility for operators, in particular express carriers.”


    • @@@Bryce

      Three star Great Link

      To plumb the depths, the obscurities of BA accounting and cash situation takes a lot of courage

  12. On the subject of A330 vs 767 freighters, this comment (from the link below) is noteworthy:

    “In Schmid’s opinion, he says, “one major advantage in comparison with the 767 is that we have a wider fuselage with the Airbus widebodies, that enables the transport of 96-inch containers side-by-side on the upper deck and the standard LD3 containers in the belly which are good features.”

    He explains that the LD2 containers which are on the 767 are not as common as the more popular LD3s. He further states this gives the A330 some additional volume, but it is not part of the conversion but a feature of the A330 itself. Further, a new container type, 96’ x 125’ AMV is able to uplift volume by 10 per cent on each position.

    Boeings [767] can only transport 88-inch containers side by side,” Schmid compares.”


    • Apparently there is some data behind the wall on the air current website from delta showing that the trip fuel use for the 767 and A330neo are almost the same.However this is for the 767- 300,passenger flights and I would have thought that the USAF would have more pipped up engines. I am sure Scott has a lot more data for those prepared to pay for it. I would imagine that an A330 NEO MRTT would be quite a bit more expensive and despite the hash Boeing has made of the KC46, quite a bit more risky.

      • @Grubbie: LM-Airbus will offer the A330ceo-based tanker, not the neo-based tanker.
        @Leon: During the KC-X competition, Boeing claimed (with typical hyperbole) that the 767-200ER burned 24% less fuel than the A330-200. The delta wasn’t nearly that big, but nevertheless, the 200ER burned less fuel. Over the 40 year life cycle data point in the evaluation, this added up to a significant amount of money in operating costs. The fact that the larger A330 had more range, more tankage and more loiter time helped Northrop Grumman-EADS (Airbus) win in round two. But in round three (Airbus only, Northrop didn’t participate), the competition was re-cast to be Technically Acceptable, Lowest Price (TALP) and the A330’s extras would not be given credit unless the price bids were within 1% of each other. Boeing’s bid was 10% lower, so the A330 was toast. (Round One, for those not intimately family with the KC-X saga, was the infamous Boeing-proposed lease deal that Sen. John McCain scuttled and two Boeing officials went to jail for misconduct in the bid.)

        • I checked the 767 long time ago. The 762 was the least interesting to me because it’s not much bigger than the A321, so I didn’t check the 767-200ER much. The 767-200ER has only 4% less MTOW than the 767-300ER, while the KC-46 has more.

          The KC-46 doesn’t have winglets. How is that even possible, too cheap? We know winglets can improve fuel burn much. The MRTT has winglets, as it should be.
          So if the 767 (KC-46) is compared with the A330ceo (MRTT), the Airbus should be calculated with winglets.

          • Leon:

            You are aware that FedEx does not have winglets on their brand new 767F?

          • That’s what I said,
            Airbus improved the A330 over the years,
            while Boeing was sleeping with the 767.

        • Yeah I know Scott, but somehow it just doesn’t seem right for governments to lecture us about CO2 and then chose inefficient outdated engines for an aircraft intended to last until at least 2060

          • Scott:

            I think you should amend round 2 in that the USAF gave Airbus credit on the Cargo and fuel carry when it was not in the RFP. (I call it the big eyes syndrome)

            That was the basis of the overturn.

            Round 3 put a stamp on it and re-vamped the language so it was abundantly clear but the GAO felt it was clear in Round 2 (a rare contract over turn)

          • Grubbie:

            So all military equipment should meet the equivalent of the EPA for CO, mileage etc?

            Fighters, Bomber, tanks, AFV, Hum V and the huge fleet of cargo trucks, dozers and ??????????????????

      • Pedro:

        That is a complete mis statement.

        You will notice its the -300 and not the 200?

        Package freight ops are not the same as heavy fright ops and you can bulk out before you way out (or simply put, the plane is full of stuff, but you are still below the MTOW)

        Ergo, FedEx and UPS felt the A380 would work for them and ordered 10 each.

        There is some package disagreement on some of it as UPS has gone with the 747 models for the top bird and FedEx went with 777 (I believe that is bulk vs flexibility).

        It has nothing to do with dated aircraft, it has all to do with volume and clearly the A330-300 has more volume than a 767F.

      • @ Pedro
        Another advantage of the A330P2F from EFW is that it is fitted with motorized freight tracks — which greatly speed up the loading/unloading process, thereby reducing turnaround times.

        Nothing but advantages here: A 12 year younger model, more modern tracks, can take broader containers, larger overall volume, FBW and greater range. No wonder EFW’s order book is full.

        • The A330 is more than a decade younger design than the B767. It can carry 8% to 10% more weight and has 20% greater cargo volume. Last but not the least, it provides interoperability with the A321, making it easy to switch between aircraft.

  13. Mr. Leon if you just use google you will find out the fuel burn of A330-200 and 767-300er. Your [Edited] of everything Boeing cloud your judgement all the time. 767-300er burn 4950 and A330-200 burn 5500. The A330 is a much bigger airplane.

    • Daveo,

      I enjoyed flying 767 long time ago.
      At that time I respected Boeing, but that respect crashed.

      Your numbers are wrong, but even if they were, the A330-200 would burn 11% more.
      But since we talk about tankers, the MRTT without ACT can carry 18% more fuel than the KC-46 with ACT. Now guess how much more the MRTT could carry, if it would use ACT too. There is still payload left the MRTT could use. It should be over 30% the MRTT could carry more, I’m too lazy to check. Turns out, the KC-46 is real garbage LOL no problem.

      I said it before, Airbus should not offer planes to the USAF.
      Let the US use their garbage and the EU use their own too. There is a reason why Airbus is the market leader and the XLR, A350F and A321F will increase the lead. We know why Boeing can’t compete, they are not interrested to produce good planes.

      • You said the 767-300er burn more fuel than A330-200. The evidence from both OEM is that the A330-200 burn more fuel. The A330 advantage is it is bigger, haul more payload and now in the NEO form out range the 767-300er.

        • Which evidence?

          The A330ceo is a newer generation and Airbus improved the A330 over the years. It can be easily seen in the increased MTOW steps. 212t in 1994, 215t in 1996, 217t in 1997, 230t in 1998, 233t in 2003, 235t in 2011, 242t in 2015. What did Boeing do in these years? A newer generation usually means at least a 15% efficiency improvement. The A330ceo Airbus is producing now is much improved than it was 27 years ago. Airbus improved everything and older planes can even be upgraded.

          • Leon:

            Unless it got new engines it was the same Gen engines as the 767.

            The A330 got new engine with the NEO that has nothing to do with the MRT engine wise.

            The 767 engines also improved over time. PW4000 was poorly regarded now its rated as good as GE (RR never took off in that application).

            And while its a life cycle factor in KC-46 favor in this case, fuel efficiency is not the top issue with tankers.

            Daveo is exactly right. And unless you are going to turn you tanker into a cargo hauler, that cargo capacity is irrelevant.

            You will never find a tanker flying a cargo mission on the same flight.

            If it is carrying cargo, then its not available as a tanker, thousands of miles away to start with.

        • Daveo,

          I’m still waiting for the evidence.
          I have evidence from Airbus and Boeing too, I’m not smoking.

  14. I think the TALP for KC-X was a straight forward goal post movement, intentionally.

    For the KC-Y I would expect the government / DoD to require current gen fuel efficient, clean and quiet engines.

    But that would be TALP..

    • Keeje:

      If I am following your assertion, you said it was a change to stop A330MRT.

      GAO is an independent agency that is tasked to rule on contracts. They rarely over turn a contract even with some violations of the RFP (and Airbus/Boeing both are allowed to chime in on an RFP and request changes)

      The GAO ruling was the USAF award was such a major violation that they had to re-do it.

      The USAF could have changed the RFP to say bonus for the Cargo and Fuel and we are going to ignore ramp spacing.

      However, USAF intent always was to replace the KC-135R and was so stated in the authorization request from congress. The 767T was always the closest to that concept.

      The reality is you also have to play with the numbers and see if a bonus for cargo and freight was enough to over turn Boeing low bid.

      In other words, its not a trump card but a percentage assessment or bonus and the bonus has to be high enough to overcome the low bid.

      As it was never put that way we will never know.

      As you have two very different capabilities in the 767T and an A330T, you have an almost impossible (maybe impossible) level playing field bid wise.

      The RFP for the KC-Y will clarify what direction the USAF wants to go, are there performance bonus for better, how much and how low would Boeing have to bid to overcome it?

      What you can say was the KC-X was a success as the USAF got 10% off.

      • 10% off a good working tanker for a lemon?? 😂😂
        What a deal for the seller.

        Thanks but no thanks. BA et al are bankrupting the USAF, shifting wealth to their top management.

      • @TW

        You persist in stating GAO is ‘independent’ despite the head’s up from a recent commentor

        GAO is about as ‘independent’ as the FAA

        It is not plausible to state that the DoD complex is rational honest and efficient in any way, witness the numerous failed programs, KFC F-35 etc etc

        • Gerrard White:

          It would be to your benefit to actually understand how the US procurement system works (or does not). Clearly you are ignorant of the role the GAO plays.

          It has nothing to do with procurement, any more than the NTSB has with enacting regulations (the NTSB finds probable cause and recommends, but it has no action authority). Action come from the FAA, Congress or not at all (see the DC-10 door latch failures).

          GAO role is to assess a contract protest. It either upholds said pretest (seldom) or it does not (usually does not).

          Actual procurement is started at the Military level, programs proposed to congress and approved or not. That is where the political horse show occurs, not GAO.

          The FAA issues is regulatory capture, but FAA issues goes back a long long time, its not recent like so many have falsely called the FAA a previous Gold Standard. It was not.

          Its an imperfect agency that has long needed reform, not just the MAX tragedy.

      • TW I think it is clear what happened to the KC-X process and decisions to almost every one. Congress pushed Boeing through using every available trick. Lobbyist, congress people were even boasting it afterwards. Of course people are rewriting history to legalize this patriotic endeavour. Google unfortunately logged everything since 20 yrs, so it is what it is.

        Airbus / NG gave up when they understood Boeing could not lose the contest for national strategic reasons.



        • keesje:

          You can try to re-write history but you are in quicksand.

          Airbus collected 1.5 billion and went on its way (Europe you are welcome for another bail out). That is a flaw in the system by they way, contract is awarded, money handed over and then the protest is heard. There should be a delay.

          In the end Boeing under-bid Airbus by 10%. Yes we got something of a lemon (and no we do not know how the A330MRT would have worked out to USAF specs, Airbus does have its own wiring history issues for example.)

          You also ignore that the USAF went to congress with a program to replace the KC-135, not a program to up freighter capability or even exceed KC-135 offload.

          And what the USAF has is in the long run a more capable KC-135R.

          All are welcome to write the US Congress and ask them to change the next RFP to give a bonus for Cargo and excess fuel and waiver ramp spacing.

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