Connect with us

Hi, what are you looking for?

TOP news

Airbus has a $260 million wide-body jet that it just can’t sell. See inside the A330-800neo that’s proving to be a commercial flop.

A Uganda Airlines Airbus A330-800neo.

Thomas Pallini/Insider

  • Airbus has only sold 15 of its A330-800neo aircraft, the next-generation variant of the popular A330-200.
  • Uganda Airlines, Air Greenland, Kuwait Airlines, and Garuda Indonesia are the only four airlines to purchase the aircraft.
  • One expert says that airlines don’t want to pay for a smaller plane compared to the larger A330-900neo since the two have comparable per-seat costs. 

Airbus doesn’t usually have a problem selling airplanes.Uganda Airlines Airbus A330-800neo — Dubai Airshow 2021A Uganda Airlines Airbus A330-800neo.

Thomas Pallini/Insider

As of October 2021, more than 20,000 orders have been placed for Airbus aircraft. The European aircraft manufacturers’ wide-body planes, specifically, can be found flying all over the world and are the backbone of numerous global airlines.Airbus A350-900 XWB at Dubai AirshowAn Airbus A350-900 XWB at Dubai Airshow.

Thomas Pallini/Insider

Source: Airbus

But one aircraft just hasn’t resonated with customers, the A330-800neo. Only 15 aircraft have been sold as of October 2021 since the A330neo program launched in 2014 to counter the Boeing 787 Dreamliner.Uganda Airlines Airbus A330-800neo — Dubai Airshow 2021A Uganda Airlines Airbus A330-800neo.

Thomas Pallini/Insider

Source: Airbus

Airbus designed the aircraft to be a more efficient version of the A330-200 as part of an upgrade for the popular A330 family of aircraft. The A330-200, a commercial success, earned 662 orders over its life and 598 of the 647 aircraft that were delivered to customers are still flying.Airbus A330-200An Airbus A330-200.

aviation images.com/Universal Images Group/Getty

Source: Airbus

Powering the A330neo family is the Rolls-Royce Trent 7000 that Airbus says helps reduce fuel consumption and emissions by “25% compared to its previous-generation aircraft.” Also aiding in its efficiency are new wings with composite winglets.Uganda Airlines Airbus A330-800neo — Dubai Airshow 2021A Uganda Airlines Airbus A330-800neo.

Thomas Pallini/Insider

Source: Airbus

As a newer variant with more efficient engines, the A330-800neo had a good chance of riding on the success of its predecessor. But only four airlines have placed orders for the A330-800neo including Kuwait Airways, Uganda Airlines, Air Greenland, and Gaurda Indonesia, making the aircraft among Airbus’ worst-selling aircraft in its history.Uganda Airlines Airbus A330-800neo — Dubai Airshow 2021A Uganda Airlines Airbus A330-800neo.

Thomas Pallini/Insider

Insider got a look at the A330-800neo at the Dubai Airshow 2021 when Airbus and Uganda Airlines teamed up to show off the jet. Here’s what it’s like onboard.Uganda Airlines Airbus A330-800neo — Dubai Airshow 2021A Uganda Airlines Airbus A330-800neo.

Thomas Pallini/Insider

The average Airbus A330-800neo can seat between 220 and 260 passengers in a three-class configuration, according to Airbus.Uganda Airlines Airbus A330-800neo — Dubai Airshow 2021Onboard a Uganda Airlines Airbus A330-800neo.

Thomas Pallini/Insider

Source: Airbus

The total number of seats in Uganda Airlines’ configuration is 258 seats across economy class, premium economy class, and business class cabins.Uganda Airlines Airbus A330-800neo — Dubai Airshow 2021Onboard a Uganda Airlines Airbus A330-800neo.

Thomas Pallini/Insider

In business class, a total of 20 seats are offered in a 1-2-1 configuration. Each seat offers direct aisle access and fully lie-flat capabilities that are ideal for long-haul flights.Uganda Airlines Airbus A330-800neo — Dubai Airshow 2021Onboard a Uganda Airlines Airbus A330-800neo.

Thomas Pallini/Insider

Seats along the edges of the cabin are the most private and ideal for solo travelers.Uganda Airlines Airbus A330-800neo — Dubai Airshow 2021Onboard a Uganda Airlines Airbus A330-800neo.

Thomas Pallini/Insider

Center-aisle seats are alternatively ideal for couples traveling together or travelers with companions. But for those seated in one of the paired “honeymoon” seats, as they’re known, a partition helps maintain privacy.Uganda Airlines Airbus A330-800neo — Dubai Airshow 2021Onboard a Uganda Airlines Airbus A330-800neo.

Thomas Pallini/Insider

Other center-aisle seats are positioned along the aisle for a greater degree of privacy without the need for a partition.Uganda Airlines Airbus A330-800neo — Dubai Airshow 2021Onboard a Uganda Airlines Airbus A330-800neo.

Thomas Pallini/Insider

The staggered configuration of the business class cabin means that some of the seats along the sides of the cabin are closer to the window while others are on the aisle.Uganda Airlines Airbus A330-800neo — Dubai Airshow 2021Onboard a Uganda Airlines Airbus A330-800neo.

Thomas Pallini/Insider

True window seats offer additional privacy as they’re situated away from the aisle, and also have the benefit of unobstructed window views.Uganda Airlines Airbus A330-800neo — Dubai Airshow 2021Onboard a Uganda Airlines Airbus A330-800neo.

Thomas Pallini/Insider

Airlines can increase the capacity of the business class cabin by expanding it past the second boarding door or install paired seats instead of individual seats. But the industry is moving away from paired seats as travelers want privacy and aisle access.Uganda Airlines Airbus A330-800neo — Dubai Airshow 2021Onboard a Uganda Airlines Airbus A330-800neo.

Thomas Pallini/Insider

And for airlines that want to maximize space with a three-cabin aircraft, keeping business class in between the first two boarding doors is typically the preferred option.Uganda Airlines Airbus A330-800neo — Dubai Airshow 2021Onboard a Uganda Airlines Airbus A330-800neo.

Thomas Pallini/Insider

Each seat offers standard business class seat amenities including a seat-back entertainment screen, personal reading lamp, adjustable headrest, and bounds of storage space.Uganda Airlines Airbus A330-800neo — Dubai Airshow 2021Onboard a Uganda Airlines Airbus A330-800neo.

Thomas Pallini/Insider

Behind business class, Uganda Airlines opted for a premium economy class consisting of 28 recliner seats.Uganda Airlines Airbus A330-800neo — Dubai Airshow 2021Onboard a Uganda Airlines Airbus A330-800neo.

Thomas Pallini/Insider

Seats are configured in a 2-3-2 configuration with greater amounts of pitch and width at each.Uganda Airlines Airbus A330-800neo — Dubai Airshow 2021Onboard a Uganda Airlines Airbus A330-800neo.

Thomas Pallini/Insider

Each seat features a seat-back entertainment screen as well as USB charging ports, water bottle holders, footrests, coat hooks, and a tethered entertainment remote.Uganda Airlines Airbus A330-800neo — Dubai Airshow 2021Onboard a Uganda Airlines Airbus A330-800neo.

Thomas Pallini/Insider

A solid tray table is also stored in the armrest, with a small drink counter in between seats.Uganda Airlines Airbus A330-800neo — Dubai Airshow 2021Onboard a Uganda Airlines Airbus A330-800neo.

Thomas Pallini/Insider

Premium economy is a hybrid product offering some of the glamour of a business class seat with a price just slightly above an economy class seat.Uganda Airlines Airbus A330-800neo — Dubai Airshow 2021Onboard a Uganda Airlines Airbus A330-800neo.

Thomas Pallini/Insider

The remaining 210 seats are the domain of economy class across two sections.Uganda Airlines Airbus A330-800neo — Dubai Airshow 2021Onboard a Uganda Airlines Airbus A330-800neo.

Thomas Pallini/Insider

Standard for the A330 family, seats are arranged in a 2-4-2 configuration.Uganda Airlines Airbus A330-800neo — Dubai Airshow 2021Onboard a Uganda Airlines Airbus A330-800neo.

Thomas Pallini/Insider

Seats along the cabin wall are ideal for couples and solo travelers as there are no middle seats.Uganda Airlines Airbus A330-800neo — Dubai Airshow 2021Onboard a Uganda Airlines Airbus A330-800neo.

Thomas Pallini/Insider

Travelers with a preference for window seats can also benefit from the side seats as there are fewer seats to climb over when trying to access the aisle.Uganda Airlines Airbus A330-800neo — Dubai Airshow 2021Onboard a Uganda Airlines Airbus A330-800neo.

Thomas Pallini/Insider

Center aisle seats are ideal for groups traveling together with as many as four travelers able to share a row.Uganda Airlines Airbus A330-800neo — Dubai Airshow 2021Onboard a Uganda Airlines Airbus A330-800neo.

Thomas Pallini/Insider

Economy class seats feature standard amenities such as a seat-back entertainment system, USB charging port, and adjustable headrest.Uganda Airlines Airbus A330-800neo — Dubai Airshow 2021Onboard a Uganda Airlines Airbus A330-800neo.

Thomas Pallini/Insider

In another standard for the A330 family, the curvature of the fuselage reduces the last few rows to three seats in the center aisle section.Uganda Airlines Airbus A330-800neo — Dubai Airshow 2021Onboard a Uganda Airlines Airbus A330-800neo.

Thomas Pallini/Insider

All A330neo aircraft come standard with the “Airspace by Airbus” cabin that includes mood lighting illuminating the cabin and greater overhead bin space for carry-on baggage.Uganda Airlines Airbus A330-800neo — Dubai Airshow 2021Onboard a Uganda Airlines Airbus A330-800neo.

Thomas Pallini/Insider

As far as where the aircraft will fly, there are not many places the A330-800neo can’t go with a top range of 8,150 nautical miles. Uganda Airlines can fly all the way to the US West Coast and the east coast of Australia from Entebbe, Uganda.Uganda Airlines Airbus A330-800neo — Dubai Airshow 2021Onboard a Uganda Airlines Airbus A330-800neo.

Thomas Pallini/Insider

Source: Airbus

Dubai is the furthest destination the aircraft flies to from Entebbe. And one limiting factor in the aircraft’s range, though, is the lack of a crew rest area in Uganda Airlines’ configuration.Uganda Airlines Airbus A330-800neo — Dubai Airshow 2021Onboard a Uganda Airlines Airbus A330-800neo.

Thomas Pallini/Insider

Rather than a dedicated space for flight attendants, seats in both the economy class and business class cabins have been dedicated for crew rest.Uganda Airlines Airbus A330-800neo — Dubai Airshow 2021Onboard a Uganda Airlines Airbus A330-800neo.

Thomas Pallini/Insider

Crew rest seats can be identified in both cabins by a curtain surrounding the seat.Uganda Airlines Airbus A330-800neo — Dubai Airshow 2021Onboard a Uganda Airlines Airbus A330-800neo.

Thomas Pallini/Insider

But such a capable aircraft begs the question: why aren’t more airlines adding the A330-800neo to their fleets?Uganda Airlines Airbus A330-800neo — Dubai Airshow 2021A Uganda Airlines Airbus A330-800neo.

Thomas Pallini/Insider

“It’s a fairly simple story: the Dash 200 was always at a bit of a disadvantage because it’s a shrink [of the A330-300,]” Richard Aboulafia, vice president of analysis at Teal Group, told Insider. And the same applies to the A330-800neo.Uganda Airlines Airbus A330-800neo — Dubai Airshow 2021Onboard a Uganda Airlines Airbus A330-800neo.

Thomas Pallini/Insider

“All shrinks are a bit heavier on a per-seat basis because they’re carrying around the same structures and systems and engines as the bigger planes but with fewer seats,” Aboulafia said.Uganda Airlines Airbus A330-800neo — Dubai Airshow 2021Onboard a Uganda Airlines Airbus A330-800neo.

Thomas Pallini/Insider

Airlines might not want to pay similar operating costs for a plane with fewer seats, even if it means spending less to acquire the smaller model.Uganda Airlines Airbus A330-800neo — Dubai Airshow 2021Onboard a Uganda Airlines Airbus A330-800neo.

Thomas Pallini/Insider

The A330-900neo offers around 30 additional seats in a three-class configuration, in a cabin around 17 feet longer than the A330-800neo. That 17 feet can house a lot more business class seats to earn the airline additional premium revenue.Uganda Airlines Airbus A330-800neo — Dubai Airshow 2021Onboard a Uganda Airlines Airbus A330-800neo.

Thomas Pallini/Insider

The A330-800neo also has no shortage of competition, whether it be from the Boeing 787 Dreamliner or even smaller aircraft in the Airbus lineup. Narrow-body aircraft, including the A321neoLR, offer range capabilities that allow them to fly upwards of nine hours.Uganda Airlines Airbus A330-800neo — Dubai Airshow 2021Onboard a Uganda Airlines Airbus A330-800neo.

Thomas Pallini/Insider

Uganda Airlines’ Airbus A330-800neo flight from Entebbe, Uganda to Dubai could very easily be operated by a smaller Airbus A321neoLR with only a slightly smaller passenger load.Uganda Airlines Airbus A330-800neo — Dubai Airshow 2021Onboard a Uganda Airlines Airbus A330-800neo.

Thomas Pallini/Insider

And the airlines that want the extended range capabilities of the A330neo compared to a narrow-body are finding it more cost advantageous to buy up the A330-900neo.Uganda Airlines Airbus A330-800neo — Dubai Airshow 2021Onboard a Uganda Airlines Airbus A330-800neo.

Thomas Pallini/Insider

Azul Brazilian Airlines, for example, chose the A330-900neo over the A330-800neo despite only having the A330-200 in its wide-body fleet prior to the purchase.Azul Brazilian Airlines Airbus A330-900neoAn Azul Brazilian Airlines Airbus A330-900neo.

SamuelVSilva / Shutterstock.com

Delta Air Lines and TAP Air Portugal, two other A330-200 operators, have also opted to only purchase the A330-900neo.TAP Air Portugal Airbus A330-900neoA TAP Air Portugal Airbus A330-900neo.

Matheus Obst/Shutterstock.com

Airbus still has time to sell the A330-800neo before writing the program off completely, according to Aboulafia. The A330-900neo has a sizeable backlog that will keep production on the aircraft family open for years to come.Uganda Airlines Airbus A330-800neo — Dubai Airshow 2021Onboard a Uganda Airlines Airbus A330-800neo.

Thomas Pallini/Insider

No further orders were announced for the A330-800neo were announced at the Dubai Airshow while Air Lease Corporation did place an order for four A330neos at the show.Uganda Airlines Airbus A330-800neo — Dubai Airshow 2021Onboard a Uganda Airlines Airbus A330-800neo.

Thomas Pallini/Insider

But potential airline customers did get to take a look at the aircraft and it’s possible some will reexamine the A330-800neo now after seeing it up close.Uganda Airlines Airbus A330-800neo — Dubai Airshow 2021Onboard a Uganda Airlines Airbus A330-800neo.

Thomas Pallini/Insider

Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Advertisement

You May Also Like

Opinion

Adeline van Houtte is the Economist Intelligence Unit’s lead analyst on Russia. It looks like Russia is at it again, after the unusual movement...

Health Care

Former President Donald Trump confirmed he had gotten a booster during a live show with Bill O’Reilly in Dallas on Sunday.

TOP news

US Navy aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson leads other US Navy ships during an exercise with the Indian navy in 2012. US Navy Photo...

TOP news

Medical imaging service in a hospital in Savoie, France. A technician monitors a brain MRI scan session. BSIP/Universal Images Group via Getty Images A...