Heavier Airbus A330s will offer Kuala Lumpur-Paris or –Frankfurt range
Airbus A330-300 direct flights from South East Asia to Europe should be possible with the additional fuel capacity that is scheduled to become available on new aircraft from 2015. The increased volume is expected to permit non-stop westbound flights of up to 6,100nm, permitting the model to be flown on routes such as Kuala Lumpur-Frankfurt or -Paris. On eastbound flights the change could be used to carry additional cargo.
The improved performance arises from a heavier, 242,000kg maximum take-off weight (MTOW) for A330-300s and A330-200s, with the former variant also being offered with an increased fuel-capacity option. This increases the 240,000kg MTOW announced earlier this year, for which lessor CIT is the launch customer.
Airbus says that, combined with the higher fuel capacity, the new take-off weight will enable A330-300 operators to carry additional payload on longer missions. "Overall, the full payload range now increases by around 500nm over today’s 235,000kg [aircraft], and by around 350nm over [the current] 238,000kg A330-200."
The new optional higher fuel capacity on the A330-300 is derived by activation of the centre wing tank for the first time on this model. "The centre tank and its associated systems have always been standard on its longer-range [A330-200] sibling," says the manufacturer.
Earlier in 2012, Airbus unveiled plans to increase A330 MTOW to 240,000kg. The centre wing tank is standard fit on the longer-range Series 200 but until now has not been used on the bigger A330-300, for which fuel capacity increases from 97,500 litres to almost 140,000 litres.
In addition to increased range and payload, the type is set to receive aerodynamic performance enhancements through improvements to the airframe, cabin interior, and engines, says A330 programme chief Patrick Piedrafita.
Modifications include reduced-length flap-track "canoe" fairings and reshaped inboard leading-edge slats and fully exploiting the A330 wing's "load-alleviation" function. The manufacturer plans to reinforce areas of the wing and fuselage.– Ian Goold