It’s the end of the line for the Etihad and TAP A330-300 as both airlines have provisionally scheduled the type’s last flight. While Etihad is tentatively looking at the end of August, TAP Portugal is looking at early July.
Both of the airlines currently focus on operating the A330-200, with limited numbers of the A330-300 in their fleet. In the past, Etihad has operated a total of six A330-300s, while TAP has operated four. Right now, TAP Portugal is using just two, while Etihad operates three. TAP’s last A330-300 flight will service the route to Boston on 5th of July 2019. Meanwhile, Etihad’s final -300 flight will run to Milan Malpensa on 31st of August 2019.
The A330-300 is a widebody aircraft produced by European manufacturer Airbus. In 2018 the plane had a list price of USD 264.2 million brand new. The A330-300’s capacity is significantly larger than that of its -200 sister. While the -200 seats 246 in a standard configuration, the -300 rather appropriately seats 300. Despite this vast increase in capacity, the -300 is less than 5m longer than the -200.
Why retire the A330-300?
Both of the airlines appear to be retiring the craft to focus on other A330s. While this seems to be just the A330-200 for Etihad, TAP is in the process of receiving brand new A330-900 aircraft. Both carriers have very few of the -300 in their fleets. As such, it makes sense for them to consolidate their fleet into types which will be a focus for the future.
While Etihad appears to be storing their A330-300 aircraft, TAP is repurposing theirs. One of TAP’s aircraft is due to transfer to Air Canada in Q2 of 2019 according to AirFleets.net, while another has already been transferred. Etihad has, so far, stored three of six -300s.
The new A330-900
TAP Portugal is currently in the process of receiving the new A330-900, one of the A330neo family. The A330-900 had a list price of USD 296.4 million in 2018. This means it is around $32 million more than a new -300. However, the new -900 has new engine options. This is part of the reason that the aircraft is a popular replacement choice as it is more fuel efficient than previous models.
TAP has ordered 10 A330-900s and was the launch carrier for the type. In total, 234 new A330-900 aircraft have been ordered to date, while only eight of its little sister, the -800, have been ordered.
What do you think of the A330-300’s retirement? Do you believe the A330-900 is a worthy replacement? Let us know in the comments down below!