When Will Kuwait Airways Receive Its Rare A330-800neos?

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?

Kuwait A330-800neo
When will Kuwait get the A330-800neo? Photo: Airbus

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.

The new A330neo for Hi Fly.
The A330-900neo makes more sense financially for many airlines. Photo: Hi Fly

For those who are not familiar with the two types, they have the following specifications

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  • 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).

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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.

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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.

a350neo
When you look at Kuwait’s other orders, the A330-800neo was perfect for them. Photo: Airbus

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.

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William

The A330-800 has excellent short field performance compared to its competitors. It also has good “hot and high” performance. Greenland Air ordered the A330-800 on the basis of a short field capability over the B787 for this reason. So apart from it’s outstanding range It’s hot and high is important to Middle Eastern carriers. Emirates ordered B787-9 over the B787-10 on the basis that the -10 couldn’t handle the hot takeoffs. I suspect that when the opportunities the A330-800 has becomes apparent it will receive more orders.

aziz

lovely article

Anonymous

Just to correct you, Kuwait Airways has already received all 10

Anonymous

Just to correct you, Kuwait Airways has already received all 10 B777-300ERs they ordered 2 years ago, there aren’t any more B77Ws on order for the airline.

Kuwaiti

Love Kuwait Airways

Richard

I suspect that the A330-800 is going to be one of those airliners that when airlines see its performance in service will start ordering up: A case of slow burn but increased uptake. It’s interesting because the stated range is theoretically enough to do London to Perth.

Could JetBlue be tempted to buy a handful if their London traffic picks up? Air Canada Rouge to replace a load of their old 767s? Swiss to replace their A340-300s? Fun to speculate!