A medium- to long-range twin-engine widebody jetliner made by Airbus since 1992.
The Airbus A330 is a widebody twinjet airliner produced by Airbus since 1992, which entered commercial service in 1994; however, its development process (along with that of its four-engined sister model, the airbus-a340) dates back to the mid-1970s, when it was first conceived of as a larger, longer-range derivative of the earlier airbus-a300. Competing twinjets include the boeing-767, boeing-777, and boeing-787.
There are four major civilian versions of the A330 (two "Current Engine Option", or "ceo", and two "New Engine Option", or "neo"), plus one military version.
The civilian versions, ordered by date of introduction into service, are:
A330ceo (Current Engine Option) versions
[These versions use General Electric CF6-80E, Pratt & Whitney PW4000, or Rolls-Royce Trent 700 engines.]
- The A330-300 is the original version, which entered service in January 1994; it has a range of up to 11,750 km (6,350 nmi), and typically carries from 277 to 335 passengers (with an absolute upper limit of 440 in an 'economy-only' configuration). As of December 2019, 770 A330-300s have been delivered, with a further 15 on order.
- The A330-200 is a shortened version (typical capacity 253 passengers) with a range of up to 13,400 km (7,240 nmi); in addition to the shortened fuselage (which requires a larger vertical-stabilizer), it achieves this longer range by adding a center fuel tank and strengthening the wings to allow them to carry the increased fuel load. The A330-200 entered service in 1998; 640 have been delivered, with 20 more orders pending.
- The A330-200 also has a dedicated cargo variant, the A330-200F ("F" for "Freighter"). The main difference between the vanilla -200 and the -200F is that the latter's nose landing-gear is mounted on a distinctive bulge on the aircraft's lower front fuselage; this was done to make loading and unloading of cargo easier, as a vanilla A330 sits at a slight nose-down angle when on the ground, and the -200F's bulge raises the aircraft's nose just enough for the floor of the main cargo deck to be level rather than slanted. 38 have been delivered so far, with three still to go. Airbus also offers cargo conversions of passenger A330s (currently restricted to the two ceo models); these aircraft, designated the A330-300P2F and A330-200P2F (Passenger-to-Freight[er]), do not have the nose bulge of the -200F, the slanted floor instead being dealt with by an improved cargo-loading system.
A330neo (New Engine Option) versions
[These versions use Rolls-Royce Trent 7000 engines.]
- The A330-900 is intended to replace the A330-300. It shares the fuselage structure of the -300, but has new, more efficient engines and tweaked wing aerodynamics, which combine to give it a lower fuel consumption and greater range (up to 13,300 km [7200 nmi]) than the -300; the -900 also has a new cabin interior, intended to make flying on the A330 more pleasant for the passengers. The A330-900 first flew in October 2017; as of December 2019, 44 have been delivered to customers, and 279 ordered but not yet delivered.
- The A330-800 is intended to replace the A330-200. It features the same changes as the A330-900, but applied to the A330-200 rather than the A330-300; the combination of these improvements with the -200's already-long range gives the -800 the longest range of any A330 yet, up to 15,100 km (8,150 nmi). The A330-800 first flew in November 2018, but has received a total of only 14 orders (and no deliveries thus far), being as expensive to operate as the A330-900 while carrying fewer passengers, and with its market niche eroded by the -900's increased range.
The military version is the A330 MRTT (Multi-Role Tanker/Transport), which, as the name indicates, serves both as a tanker aircraft for mid-air-refueling of military aircraft and as a troop and/or materiel transport. Although mostly based on the A330-200, it uses the wings of the A340, which are stronger than those of the civilian A330; its engines are mounted on the wing's inboard pylons, while the outboard pylons (those that would carry the #1 and #4 engines on an A340) hold pods for refueling fighter aircraft. 41 A330 MRTTs have been delivered so far, with another 19 firm orders.
The A330 is the base for the second-generation version of the airbus-beluga (known as the Beluga XL).
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