Kuwait Airways has on order eight of the super rare Airbus A330-800neos. But when will they be delivered and what will they be like?
What are the details?
Back in 2018, Kuwait Airways shocked the world by ordering the Airbus A330-800neo. Shocked is the right word, as the airframe has been decidedly unpopular compared to its bigger brother, the Airbus A330-900neo.
For those who are not familiar with the two types, they have the following specifications
- The A330-800neo is designed to carry 257 passengers in three classes to a range of 8,150nmi / 15,094 km. This aircraft is weighted towards range and distance.
- The A330-900neo is bigger and can carry 287 passengers in a three-class layout to a range of 7,200nmi / 13,334 km. This aircraft is weighted towards passengers and capacity.
The A330neo series is the revamp of the classic A330-200 and A330-300 (which each of the new ones is the respective successor of the old).
But the A330-900neo has been far more popular, securing 323 orders as of the end of 2019 compared to only 15 for the A330-800neo. In fact, last year only had a single confirmed order for the A330-800 with little known Air Greenland.
Thus, the order from Kuwait Airways for eight of the smaller A330-800neo was quite surprising.
Why did Kuwait Airways order the A330-800neo?
Considering that the Middle Eastern airline ordered so many of the aircraft, you would assume that they must have a fantastic reason. According to Yousef Al-Jassim, Chairman Kuwait Airways speaking to Airbus:
“The A330-800 will seamlessly fit into our fleet expansion and growth plans. Its unbeatable operating economics and performance in addition to best in class passenger comfort make it a sound investment. We are confident that the A330-800 will support us to compete effectively on our expanding route network. Our relationship with Airbus extends beyond aircraft acquisitions and we look forward to further collaboration on technical fields.”
According to its current fleet listings, Kuwait is planning on retiring its older A330-200 models and the A330-800neo is the logical replacement aircraft. Kuwait also has the Airbus A350-900 on order, which will fill any role taken up by the A330-900neo and above.
Kuwait also has an order for 10 Boeing 777-300ERs that are the rival of the A330-900neo, thus making the bigger aircraft unneeded.
Simply put, for Kuwait, the A330-800neo is the perfect mid-ranged aircraft to be used from the Middle East and into Africa.
When will the aircraft fly?
Currently, there are no Airbus A330-800neos in operation for any airline, with the first likely destined for Kuwait Airways. The reason is that the aircraft is not actually certified for commercial operations, although Airbus has said that certification will begin soon.
Airbus has given no reason for these delays, but it seems like they might be of the same nature that affected the bigger A330-900neo delivery.
Thus Kuwait has to be patient and wait a little longer until it can become one of the only places (except Uganda and Greenland) that you can fly on the A330-800neo.
What do you think? Let us know in the comments.