Why The Airbus A330neo Is Changing Commercial Aviation

Recently, Simple Flying had the chance to review the Hi-Fly A330neo before it entered service (and you can check out a video of our visit here). But many have asked us why the A330neo series is such a game-changer and how it will change the face of global aviation.

Hi Fly
The Hi Fly A330neo takes off. Photo: Hi Fly

Why is it a good aircraft?

The A330neo series is a brand new aircraft line from Airbus and is an update to their successful A330 line. Much like the A320 upgrade to the A320neo, the A330neo brings a whole heap of new features that airlines and passengers will love.

Some of these features include quieter engines (very powerful Rolls Royce Trent 7000 engines), a brand new wing (reducing fuel burn by 14%), a bigger range of +400 nautical miles, reduced greenhouse gas emissions, more seats onboard without reducing passenger comfort and better pressurization.

Plus, passengers can enjoy bigger overhead bins, bigger windows, mood lighting, quieter inflight noise and a new entertainment system (one that saves 400kg of weight!).

the a330neo
The specs for the A330-900neo look pretty impressive. Photo: Airbus

There are actually two types of A330neo aircraft:

  • The A330-800 can carry up to 406 passengers (typically 257) to a range 8,150nmi / 15,094 km. This aircraft is weighted towards range and distance.
  • The A330-900, as the big brother, can carry up to 440 passengers (average 287 in a three-class layout) to a range of 7,200nmi / 13,334 km. This aircraft is weighted towards passengers.

There is a little confusion of the actual model name of the aircraft. Airbus lists them as A330-800 and A330-900 but other sources, use terms like the A330neo (collective) and the A330neo-800. We will use all three terms interchangeably in this article.

The wing on the A330neo is brand new. Photo: Airbus

The A330neo type rating

One of the first massive advantages of the A330neo is that it shares 99% commonality with its predecessor, the A330-200 and A330-300. This is actually closer commonality than even the Boeing 737-800 and Boeing 737 MAX 8 aircraft.

The new features of the A330neo. Photo: Simple Flying / Airbus

Hence, pilots don’t have to retrain to fly the new A330 and therefore airlines don’t have to pay for that training. The cabins have been reimagined but still remain the same layout for passengers.

It is designed perfectly for the market

According to research done by Airbus, the most common aircraft demanded by airlines is in the 200-300 passenger class for a flight time of 6-8 hours. Additionally, most airlines want at least a business class cabin onboard, which the A330neo has plenty of space for.

The business class onboard the A330neo. Photo: Hi Fly

As Hi Fly has experienced, there is plenty of demand for an aircraft of this type and they have had no problem finding clients.

How the A330 sits in the market, with airline mission profiles. Photo: Simple Flying / Airbus

Replacing the 777, 767 and A330

One of the last major reasons why the A330neo is so brilliant is that it is actually perfectly set up to replace not just it’s progenitor the A330… but a range of other aircraft as well.

As we mentioned above, it’s flight profile perfectly suits:

  • The A330 series.
  • The Boeing 777 series. With delays to the 777X program, many airlines are nervously looking towards Airbus for a successor to the large Boeing. We even suspect that the Hi Fly aircraft could be used to tempt airlines to buy the A330neo as they trial the wet-leased aircraft.
  • The retired Boeing 767 series. With the Boeing 797 still a distant dream and the 767 no longer being built for passenger transport, there isn’t really a middle of market solution yet from Boeing. Only the A330-800 meets the demands of the market.
Boeing 777X airline orders
The Boeing 777X is still delayed and won’t fly till 2020. Photo: Boeing

Does the market really want the A330-800?

Some critics have mentioned that the A330-800neo has not sold as well as the A330-200 did when it was first launched and that the A330-900neo is selling far better.

As mentioned by Airbus at the recent Hi-Fly event, there are two major reasons why airlines have been slow to buy the A330-800. The first is that there are still plenty of young A330-200s on the market that airlines don’t need to replace (some under 10 years old). Plus, there is a vast second-hand market of A330s (a side effect of building such a well-selling series) that means airlines don’t really need to order new right now. Airbus is confident that sales will increase soon.

What do you think? Is the A330neo a great aircraft or is there a better aircraft being built by someone else? Let us know in the comments.

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787-8/9 seems like a better plane to me…more efficient, better for passengers (I’ve flown on both), much quieter


The 787 better for passengers? Certainly not in economy in that cramped 9 abreast configuration. In this regards the 8 abreast 330 is superior.


There are plenty of A330s w/ 9 abreast cabins as well. The 787 is more comfortable in my opinion. Even if there is another seat per row, the cabin feels much bigger.


“Plenty of A330s w/ 9 abreast cabins” Really? The vast majority of A330s are 8 abreast. Only a few carriers use them with 9 abreast. In fact, I’d wager less than 10% of the A330 fleet worldwide are 9 abreast. The difference between a 17″ and a 18″ seat is quite pronounced, especially on mid to long-haul flights.

Trent Pittman

I swear this website is just a blog for Airbus PR some days.


It really is. It’s annoying. Also not just some days.


Hey Passerby! I’m not trying to stick up for Boeing and some of the hot trash they have been dishing out as of late. But a serious Airbus bent isn’t a good look either, and this article in particular epitomizes that. Is the a330neo really “changing aviation”? No, and this article does nothing to back that claim up. Is it a good plane, comfortable for passengers, and good for the industry? Sure, and this is where the article spends its time. The 787 DID change the airline industry, by opening up long and thin routes to airlines, point to point,… Read more »


Did i missthe disclaimer about paid content

Joanna Bailey

Yes, because we don’t get paid for content


Reads like it


I flew both 330-900 and 787-900 recently. The 330 was quieter and smoother and seemed roomier although I am told not. I also flew the 350-1000 and a 777-300er. The latter felt old. The 350-1000 was very nice and fresh but noisier than the 330 .


I found that the 787 was smoother/quieter than the 330…never flown on the 350-1000 though


Come on, then, how can you compare?


I’m not comparing the 350 to the 787. I thought that would be clear enough when I said “never flown on the 350-1000 though.”


Its a 787-9 not 900. Unlike Airbus, Boeing does not put big numbers on their aircraft to indicate its a mature air frame even though it just came out (A350-900, really?)


No, Boeing has never used big numbers. The 737-900 for example does not exist.


I’m assuming the A330ceo correct? Also the A350 would be the only logical comparison. The A380 beats everything as far as passenger experience is concerned


Are you sure you are talking about the a330neo?


The A350-1000 is indeed supposed to be louder than its smaller sibling. That is because the Trent XWB-97 runs at a higher temperature and rpm compared to the Trent XWB-84/75. However it will never be as loud as the B777 with the GE-115B engines. As for the B787, there are also 2 engine options and apparently the ones with GE engines are quieter compared to the ones equipped with RR engines. However there are always those de-rated engines like the Trent XWB 75 which only JAL and SQ uses on their A350-900 regional. These are said to be the quietest… Read more »

Roy Mercer

“replace not just it’s progenitor the A330”

NO apostrophe in possessive “its”
” it’s ” is a short form of “it is” or “ït has”
“ïts” possessive is in the group with “yours” “his” “hers”…no apostrophe….


Grammatically speaking, how about the flagrant use of so, um, uhh, I mean, etc. A blog about aircraft, but you really did touch a nerve.


The A330NEO is not all new. Engines and a bit of a Wing Tweek. Nothing wrong with that but its not all new. This reads like a Brochure from Airbus not a report from an independent assessor. Engine wise it has the highly suspect Trent 7000 (derived from the failure prone Trent 1000) – the big question is will they catch the engine before it fails and get it up to a normal standard before it does what the Trnet 1000 did 4 years into service and start coming unglued? The A330 or the A330NEO are good aircraft per Airline… Read more »


The Trent 7000 engines are derived from the Trent XWB rather than the problematic trent 1000. The unfortunate part was that there was also a significant amount of adaptation based on the Trent 1000 as they are more similar in terms of requirements. RR is just keeping their fingers crossed that the Trent 7000 will not inherit the problems from the 1000.

Hein Vandenbergh

As a mere aviation professional simpleton, I must applaude the 99% commonality of this A330neo with its predecessor: new engines, and a new wing. Either I am going senile in my dotage – though major airlines still request my input into crew fatigue issues and system/ergonomic safety – or else commonality has a different meaning to Simple Flying. Maybe it thinks an alloy tube with winglike protrusion from which hang 2 turbine engines, elongated rounds, is 99% identical to its predecessor. Why not call it an A320, or a 737MAXwotevva? Apart from split wingtip fences they all look 99% identical,… Read more »


100% agree.

Hein Vandenbergh

Yes, that”s why Wikipedia requires constant updates; in fact, these are invited!! Don’t believe everything you read, but only what you can logically and factually deduct from given facts. The 747MAX was 100% identical to fly cfr to the 800/900. We now know what 100% means. Likewise, 99% ain’t 99%, otherwise there would have been no need for a neo version. Just a soft teddy bear to absorb tailstrikes instead of a skid, that would have done it!!!

Michael Sheargold

It’s a super smart move from Airbus to extend the life of a great product like the A330. Coming after the A350 means that it’s become a “sexier” aircraft than it otherwise would be. I think one of the biggest benefits it has over the B787 is the 2-4-2 layout in economy. For long haul 18 inch seats are an essential compared to the squeezed 17 inch seats on B787. I love the tech on the 787 but value for money and for a large number of airline missions, I think the A330neo will be a winner! Yes I’m also… Read more »


The fact of the matter is that for the majority of travellers, economy seats on a 787 are going to be a cramped 17″ and seats on an A330 are going to be a much more comfortable 18″. This is because the majority of 787’s are configured 9 abreast vs the majority of A330’s which are 8 abreast. Until this fact changes the A330 will remain more comfortable for most economy passengers. If you don’t think the 1″ of seat width makes a difference then you either: 1) haven’t experienced it 2) are on a very short-haul flight 3) are… Read more »

Ronald Amado Neves

Brand new aircraft? New wing? Bigger windows? Where did you get this? The engines have the same power of those it replaces.

Ian Hardee

New wing – overall, I think that’s a fair comment. Here is what FlightGlobal has to say: QUOTE The key change is the incorporation of A350-like sharklets which increase span to 64m (210ft) from 60.3m on the earlier A330ceo family. Other aerodynamic changes include reshaped low-profile flap-track fairings, a revised upper belly fairing and a newly designed inboard slat (slat 1) … The slat change is part of the optimising of the wing around the twin configuration which involves a cleaning up of the design and the removal of the “dog-tooth” gap between the slat and the leading edge, says… Read more »


“The retried Boeing 767 series. ”

Don’t you mean The retired Boeing 767 series?

Tom Boon

Thanks for spotting this. I have amended this minor typo.

Hein Vandenbergh

Yes Tom, but you have not reacted to the absurd claim of 99% commonality. I think everyone would have read ‘retried’ as ‘retired’. Now, what about that 99% commonality claim? Surely…..

Hein Vandenbergh

Must be Sunday morning somewhere in cyberspace, and relevant people are still in church, hoping their editorial silliness is forgiven….. Sure I forgive, but at the cost of my further participation as an av professional, not a geek, to this blog – or however one may classify this site. One could do better than piously correcting what are obvious typoes, and disregarding obviously irrational statistics. 99%ers, the Great Believers, not factual analysts. I saw Santa knock up prezzies when flying over the North Pole last May, too. Even sent a pic to my 4 y old grandson as evidence… He… Read more »


“According to research done by Airbus, the most common aircraft demanded by airlines is in the 200-300 passenger class for a flight time of 6-8 hours.”

Sounds like if Boeing has made a 757 Max, with a new wing and geared engines, they would have had a real winner on their hands…


Yes! That is what the “NMA” should be – they should redesign the original 757 so that it’s better suited for today’s needs and if they brought that to marked it would be a huge success.


The article fail to mention that the 200-300 pax is based on 2 and 3 class with lie flat business. This essential kicks the 757 out of the scope as it seats less than 200 with such configuration. However the range of the B757 and A321XLR will allow it to fragmentize this market and steal a piece of the pie.

Hugh Meagher

I’m sure it is an excellent aircraft, however I think the 787 is just that bit better. I hope it is a commercial success.

Dale King

Boeing hasn’t REALLY stepped up to responsibility for the 737 Max Deaths and that whole under the table FAA Approval thing so I hope every Airline Customer in the world goes to Airbus. People need to be in JAIL not enjoying just another Corporate Bonus while they enjoy the “Good Life”. I live in US and am a Trump supporter because he is NOT a Politician. He has done more for the US in three years than the last three “Leader” did in 20 years. They had their “Oboma” who’s only accomplishment was to have the Credit rating of our… Read more »