MIAMI — Middle East Airlines (MEA), the flag carrier of Lebanon, has placed an order for four Airbus A330-900neos, the largest and most popular variant of the wide-body program.
Additionally, an agreement was signed between the airline and engine manufacturer Rolls-Royce, the sole engine provider for the A330neo program, with the all-new Trent 7000 engines.
These engines are directly developed from the Trent XWBs, which power the A350 family, and Trent 1000 TEN, which power the newer-built Boeing 787 Dreamliners.
The agreemtn was signed by Lebanese Prime Minster, Saad Hariri.
Adding More A330neos To The Backlog
This new order is a major boost for the A330neo program. However, the smaller version, the -800neo, is still struggling to find orders, with Kuwait Airways being the only firm customer.
A few weeks back, Airbus delivered the first A330-900neo to launch customer TAP Portugal.
The A330-900neo features a myriad of improvements over the current version, offering a 25% improved fuel efficiency and an increased range of 1,500nm.
Inside the aircraft is the all-new AirSpace cabin, which has been created from the A350’s design. The new cabin will improve the passenger experience by a good margin compared to the A330ceo version.
Middle Eastern Airlines (MEA) has had a good relationship with the European plane manufacturer, dating back to Airbus’ early days.
MEA is currently an all Airbus operated with 18 planes: 13 Airbus A320s and 5 Airbus A330-200s, with an average age of 7.5 years.
The airline previously operated the earliest versions of Airbus jets, which were the A300 and A310.
The airline’s current A330 fleet is relatively young, with the oldest being 10 years old and the youngest, only two.
The airline plans to use the new A330-900neos to upscale its current operations, rather than replace other aircraft, opening up new routes and adding capacity onto existing ones.
The aircraft’s increased range also opens up more long-haul possibilites for the airline.
Currently, MEA has orders for 11 Airbus A321neo aircraft, with the first plane set to arrive in 2019. The airline has selected Pratt & Whitney’s GTF to power its A321neo fleet.