Europe’s Answer To The 787: The Airbus A330neo

The Airbus A330 Neo is an aircraft to rival the B787. It is built to replace ageing B767, A330CEO, and A340 aircraft. The aircraft launched in 2014, however, unlike the B787 which has sold nearly 1,400 units the A330neo has only sold 224 aircraft.

The neo range is Airbus’ new range of aircraft. The name neo stands for New Engine Option. In contrast, ceo stands for current engine option. While just looking at the numbers the B787 seems more successful than the A330 neo, this isn’t necessarily the case. The B787 took it’s first flight almost 8 years ago, while the airbus is slightly younger, taking its first flight just under a year ago.

A330 Neo Maiden Flight
The A330 Neo made its first flight in October 2017. Photo: Airbus


While the A330-900neo is a clear step up from its predecessor, it is slightly lacking behind the B787-9. The number of seats on the aircraft makes barely any difference, however the B787 excels in its range. The Boeing aircraft has a range of almost 1000km more than its airbus competition. To put this into perspective, the difference in range is roughly equal to the distance between London and Nuremberg.

A330-300 (ceo) A330-900neo B787-9
Range 11,750 km 13,334 km 14,140 km
Typical Seating 277 287 290
Wingspan 60.3 m 64 m 60 m

TAP Fleet

TAP Air Portugal is a loyal Airbus customer. They currently have a fleet of 71 Airbus aircraft. In addition the airline has 68 further Airbus aircraft on order. Of these future aircraft, 21 are comprised of the A330-900neo. The airline will be the first in the world to operate the new aircraft. The program has suffered a few setbacks, with a 2016 press release by TAP stating “Passengers will soon be able to experience the Airspace by Airbus cabin for the first time when these aircraft enter service around the end of 2017.”

TAP A330 Neo
TAP will be the launch operator of the A330 Neo. Photo: Airbus

“On 20 March this year, TAP made history with this aircraft when TAP pilots took the A330-900neo for a flight in Toulouse. Normally only Airbus pilots are allowed to operate these flights. The aircraft was tested in several different flight configurations that are only used in training simulators, as well as several take-off and landing manoeuvres.”

Airspace Cabin

The A330-900neo will be the first aircraft to feature the new “Airspace by Airbus” cabin. On the Airbus website the Airspace cabin is described as “Airspace by Airbus is a cabin experience, that gives passenger and airlines more of what really matters. You will find we have elevated the feeling of space inside our aircraft to another level.”

Airspace by Airbus
The new Airspace by Airbus cabin features a LED lights designed to reduce jetlag. Image: Airbus

The interior of the aircraft has undergone a complete overhaul with Airbus aiming to make the cabin more relaxing, beautiful, liveable, and inspirational. It is achieving this goal by introducing new features such as led lighting which will reduce jet lag, and enhance passenger’s moods. The cabin will also offer 18” seats in economy class, following Airbus’ calls for this width to become a minimum industrial standard in 2013.