The A330-800: it doesn’t sell, but it flies
The A330-800 took to the skies of Toulouse (France) for the first time on November 6, 2018, about a year after its bigger brother, the A330-900. The aircraft is expected complete testing and enter service in 2020. However, it is yet to convince airlines of its worthiness.
Since it appeared in Airbus catalogue in 2014, this variant of Airbus A330 only managed to secure 10 sales, out of which only 8 are a firm orders; that is a number way lower compared to the jet’s big brother, the A330-900, with its 224 orders (including 100 from Air Asia X).
In March 2018, Airbus lost its sole firm order at the time, placed by Hawaiian Airlines. Despite flying mostly Airbus aircraft, the U.S. carrier changed its mind and switched for ten Boeing 787-9 Dreamliners instead of six A330-800s.
Airbus had to wait until July 2018 for anyone to show interest in their plane. It came from Uganda Airlines, which signed a memorandum of understanding for two A330-800s. The company has yet to turn it into a firm order.
In October 2018, the plane maker eventually received a firm order - from Kuwait Airways. The Gulf-based carrier ordered 8 of the jets.
Both A330-800 and A330-900 are re-engined versions of the A330-300 and A330-200, using the new generation of Rolls Royce aircraft engine, the Trent 7000, which according to the plane manufacturer reduces fuel consumption by 25% compared to the previous generation.
The two Airbus models share the same market sector as the Boeing 787-8 and 787-9 with 287 seats for the A330-900 and 257 for the A330-800 in standard configuration.
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