Which Airlines Should Order The Airbus A330-800neo?

Last week, we received news that the Airbus A330-800 has finally achieved joint Type Certification from European and American civil aviation regulators. With this milestone achieved, airlines can feel even more confident adding the aircraft to their fleets. However, this smaller variant of the A330neo has only been ordered by a few airlines, in small quantities. Today we’ll look at what other airlines around the world might benefit from the A330-800.

A330-800 take off
The A330-800neo has not been selling well. Photo: Airbus

The orders so far

So far, only a small number of airlines have ordered the A330-800. In fact, Kuwait Airways has eight on order while Uganda Airlines has just two. Furthermore, there are four logged as sold to an ‘undisclosed customer’. In the most recent development, Air Greenland announced it would be taking one aircraft to replace its aging A330-200.

Kuwait A330-800neo
Kuwait, Uganda and one other buyer are the only customers for the -800neo. Photo: Airbus

Benefits over the -900

The A330-800 can carry up to 406 passengers (typically 257) with a range of 15,094 km. This is contrasted with the A330-900, which can carry up to 440 passengers (average 287 in a three-class layout) to a range of 13,334 km. The -900 is clearly geared towards increased passenger capacity. The -800, on the other hand, is weighted towards increased range.

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There’s one more thing that the -800 has over its big brother: it can land at smaller runways. In fact, the -800 has one of the shortest runway requirements out of all the new generation aircraft (A350, 787, A330neo, 777X) and thus why it was chosen by Air Greenland.

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Uganda Airlines should have a comfortable A330-800. Photo: Airbus

Who is the -800 suited for?

Looking at the numbers and the key benefits of range and a shorter-runway requirement, it would make sense that the A330-800 is best suited to smaller airlines at smaller airports. This is because smaller airports often have shorter runways, while smaller airlines typically see lower passenger demand and have smaller budgets. A smaller budget would favor the cheaper -800.

In fact, at 2018 list prices (2019 price weren’t published), Airbus was selling the -800 for roughly 12% less. In solid dollar figures that’s US$36m less than the -900. While we know list prices are rarely adhered to, it’s clear that the -800 is the cheaper aircraft.

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With the -800’s phenomenal range, we think this aircraft is suited for airlines that want to fly long-haul routes – or at least want to have that option. Considering this and the above criteria, perhaps some of the following airlines would most benefit from the -800:

Aerolineas Argentinas: This is an airline with relatively small operations compared to the American and European giants that serve Argentina’s capital – Buenos Aires. The airline could efficiently serve  Europe, North America, and Oceania with the -800. Right now, the majority of its widebody fleet is in fact A330-200s.

Air Astana: The Kazakh airline has its sights set on offering more international routes. Right now, the airline only has the 767-300 as a widebody. These aircraft aren’t old by any means but the A330-800 might be a great successor.

Fiji Airways: While Fiji Airways already has two Airbus A350s, it also has five A330-200s that will eventually need replacing. Considering Fiji Airways’ relatively small aviation footprint and its isolated location, the airline would benefit from the -800’s range.

Conclusion

It’s a shame that more airlines aren’t placing orders for this fantastic jet. It seems that most airlines are positioned well enough geographically to prefer increased passenger capacity over an increased range.

Do you agree or disagree with this assessment? What airlines would you like to see the A330-800 fly with? We would love to know what you think! Let us know in the comments.

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Jeffrey Isbell,(Gemini_jets_68)

I completely agree with your opinion of Aerolineas Argentinas ordering the -800, I would also say it would be good for Qantas as a replacement for their aging a330-2/300s.

ATS

Now do one on the 777-8X.

Richard

Delta has 11 330-200’s with an average age of 15 years. I could see them buying 10 of the 800’s in 5 years. Delta already has 4 of the 900’s with a total of 35 on order.

Maleko

I’d like to see Hawaiian get in on that.

Chris

I think Airlines needing more flexibility or operating from more remote and challenging places would benefit from this configuration. Such as Condor, Edelweiss, Ruwandair, South African, Air Mauritius, Sri Lankan, LATAM, Avianca (BOG), BOA, Seychelles, Nepal, SAS (COP), Garuda, Brussels Airlines, CSA, Turkish, Tibet, etc…

Jim Kelleher

At some point, American Airlines will need to replace the A330s it inherited from USAir. This would be ideal.

Reed

I wish United Airlines would order the Airbus A330-800neo

Lai Hong Yi

I would say Malaysia Airlines because its 6 ex-Air Berlin A330-200s are the oldest aircraft in the whole fleet.

However I won’t be surprised if the B787-8 or B787-9 gets chosen instead, because of the huge order of 70+ A330-900neo aircraft by its archrival, AirAsia X.

Hein Vandenbergh

QANTAS and Virgin Australia: relative low PAX loads cfr Europe and USA or China, and some seriously long haul routes. QF needs to replace its A 330- 200-300s soon, and Virgin Australia is frequency hampered fr smaller Australian cities to e.g. LAX and HKG. Not having that means VA will… Read more »

JONATHAN MARK WILLIAMSON

A330 A340 the best long haul aircraft built
242
Good for every one

OSC

Delta needs a replacement for their 767-300, and partly also the -400. These are great planes, but are getting old and do not get fitted with the latest upgrades like Premium Select (at least not the -300s). The A330-800 might be the right replacement, as the -900 is too big… Read more »

Guillermo Rehermann

Dear Chris! I agree at least for AR (Aerolineas Argentinas). Our widebody fleet is all Airbus and aging fast. Our geographic location couldn t be worst, and finally, our market is relatively small. We could serve Buenos Aires to Seattle, Moscow, Sydney and Mumbai, all unserve directly nowadays. Great article!

RH Hastings

Might some airlines think the A330NEO’s are a rehash of old tech. Seems to have work with the A320 lineup. One could argue the original A330/A340′ were just an upgrade from the A300/310 line too. So there must be a large internal manufacturer contingent rally for rehashing. Yet, the smaller… Read more »

Dan

Alitalia. They can replace their (outdated) A330s with the -800 model and their 777-200s with the -900 model.

Acquiring the aircraft might be a problem, considering the airlines precarious finances, but I am confident it will be worth it in the long run

Adnan

Nice article With the fierce competition and trying to keep up the financial of the individual airline intact, this aircraft doesn’t have the proper seat factor for the required profit. Very limited airlines that require short runways as the airports consider bigger aircraft for there commercial aspects. I think Airbus… Read more »

Abeinspace

You’ve left out one bit. The largest operator of the A330-200 type are airlines in China (Air China has 30, China Eastern has 30 and China Southern has 14). Those are still pretty new, and given the frosty relations between US and China, you can bet they will eventually be… Read more »

The Silver Fox

Interesting,- what about -600 compared to the -900?