Air Greenland Mulls Ordering The Rare Airbus A330-800neo

Air Greenland is rumored to be considering ordering the Airbus A330-800neo, to replace its aging A330-200. The tender for a new aircraft was actually quite competitive, with the carrier just barely deciding to forgo the Boeing 787 for the A330neo.

The Air Greenland A330-200. Photo: EHRENBERG Kommunikation

What are the details?

Air Greenland is a small and very unique carrier, which even has helicopters as part of its fleet. The fleet is made up of:

  • Seven Bombardier Dash 8 Q200s
  • Eight Bell 212s (Helicopter for domestic charter)
  • Nine Eurocopter AS350 (Helicopter for domestic charter)
  • Two Sikorsky S-61Ns (Search and rescue)
  • One Beechcraft B200 King Air
  • A single Airbus A330-200 for long haul routes

It is the latter aircraft that has seen 21 years of service with the carrier and the one that they are looking to replace. Considering that Greenland is one of the more extreme environments in the world, it makes sense that this is one of the priorities to replace. I can’t imagine the amount of maintenance that goes into an aircraft that performs this role.

Air Greeland
Air Greenland Q200 taxies. Photo: Gordon Leggett via Wikimedia

Replacing the old aircraft

As reported by Up In The Sky, the airline has been choosing between both the Boeing 787-8 and the Airbus A330-800neo. The former because it suits the mission conditions and the latter because it is the spiritual successor to the aircraft already in service, the A330-200.

But it seems the airline has chosen the A330-800neo over the Boeing 787 as they plan to fly the aircraft into the towns of Nuuk and Ilulissat. The A330neo is better suited for these airport conditions with their short runways and low density of routes. It’s a unique situation but one that the A330-800neo is well prepared for.

For those hungry for specifics, the Boeing 787 takeoff distance is around 2,800 meters compared to the Airbus A330neo’s 2,200 meters. The smaller 787-8 can do 2,600 meters but it is still not short enough for Air Greenland’s needs.

Air Greenland
Air Greenland A330-200 comes into land. This aircraft is set to be replaced. Photo: EHRENBERG Kommunikation

Will this order for the A330-800neo go ahead?

However, whether or not Air Greenland will actually order the A330-800neo greatly depends on whether or not Airbus actually moves ahead with the type.

As my good friend Joanna recently explained in her excellent article, the A330-800neo has not been anywhere near as popular as the bigger A330-900neo with only 14 orders. The reasons for this are varied, but can be summarised as:

  • The A330-900neo is bigger and can carry more passengers at the same economics as the smaller -800neo, thus why wouldn’t airlines upgrade to the type?
  • A330-200s are still common, new and easy to maintain, thus fewer airlines are inclined to replace these aircraft.

Overall, the A330-800neo is a surprisingly good choice for Air Greenland, and now the ball is firmly in Airbus’ court whether or not this order can go ahead.

What do you think of this order? Let us know in the comments!

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