Airbus has announced that its Airbus A330 production rate has touched 10 aircraft a month, which is significant for a wide body airliner, and the highest production rate of any Airbus widebody aircraft.
Airbus claims that the Airbus A330 is “the most popular in its category”. A330 Programme head Patrick Piedrafita said more than 800 sales have been logged since Airbus’ competitor launched its 787, validating the A330’s sustained competitiveness. That statement is vague.
The 767-300ER, and the 767-400ER, together have 621 orders, of which only 9 are unfulfilled. These two models compete with the A330-200 in capacity, but fall short in range by more than 1,500NM. There are totally 575 orders for the Airbus A330-200. Yes, the Airbus wins considering it is a younger airplane and offers more range and capacity. Then, the 787 was introduced to replace the 767 and compete against the popular A330-200.
But the Boeing 787-8 has orders for 535 airplanes, of which 50 have been delivered. If the 787’s issues are resolved, and it re-enters service and production, it quickly eclipses the popularity of the Airbus A330-200: It offers a lot more, for the same price as the shorter Airbus A330, while offering the same range and passenger capacity. Which explains the orders for the 787-8. The 787, was introduced in service in 2011, while the A330 entered service in 1992. Considering this gap, the 787’s sales performance is way better, underlining its competitiveness. If A330 Programme head Patrick Piedrafita says the A330 is still competitive, he must realize that if the 787 program ran smooth, the A330-200 line would have closed. It isn’t the 787, but the 787 program that still makes the A330-200 a safe bet.
And yes, he must be reminded that the A330-300 is a different aircraft.
The Airbus A330-300 competes against the Boeing 777-200 and 777-200ER aircraft. It has the same passenger capacity (440 max pax), but has a range that falls in between the -200 and the -200ER variant. The 777-200 and the -200ER together have orders for 510 airplanes, while the A330-300 has a order book total of 622 airplanes. The A330 family does not compete with the other 777 models (-200LR, -300, -300ER). The Boeing 777-200LR, 777-300 and 777-300ER compete with the Airbus A340-500 and -600, which are now out of production.
Although the A330-300 boasts a range similar to the 777-300, it falls short in maximum passenger capacity by 110 passengers. The A330-300 costs lesser than the 777-200 and 200ER aircraft, and is cheaper to operate. Yes, the Airbus 330 is a lot more competitive than competing 777 models, and stands as the best aircraft in its category, but that doesn’t mean it is more competitive than the 787.
Infact, the A330-300 is a lot more popular than the A330-200. But Airbus can’t compare the A330-300 with the 787. Apples and Oranges don’t look, smell, and taste alike, even if they have 2 wings and two engines.
What a great, detailed and insightful analysis!