15 July 2014 at 08.33 GMT
Airbus yesterday confirmed plans to revamp its A330 widebody twinjet to rival Boeing’s 787 Dreamliner in the long-haul sector.
The A330neo [new engine option] will be powered by more fuel-efficient engines and undercut the cost of the Dreamliner.
The European manufacturer is to spend up to €2 billion to develop and launch the A330neo, an upgraded version of a model of which 1,000 have been sold.
The new generation A330 will carry between 250 and 300 passengers and is due to enter service in 2017.
Airbus claimed at the Farnborough air show that the A330neo could broadly match the Dreamliner’s sales by securing orders for more than 1,000 aircraft.
With a wider, more aerodynamic wingspan and more seats in a better designed interior, the company said it will produce an aircraft that is 14% more fuel-efficient.
John Leahy, Airbus’s chief operating officer for customers, insisted the A330neo would not cannibalise sales of its other widebody aircraft, notably the A350, the Financial Times reported.
However, Airbus expects airlines that have placed limited orders for the A350-800, the smallest version of the aircraft, to convert to the A350-900, the mid-sized model, or the A330neo.
US firm Air Lease Corporation was unveiled as the first customer for the A330neo with an order for 25 aircraft worth $6.9 billion.
The company said there was a “compelling price difference” between it and other widebody aircraft, according to the FT.
Sourced from Travel Weekly