MIAMI – The delivery of an Airbus A330-900 to Delta Air Lines (DL) on September 21, 2020, marked 1,500 deliveries of the Airbus A330 around the world, a historic milestone for the European airframer.
With the milestone, the A330 joins the likes of the Boeing 777 and the Boeing 747 in terms of deliveries. Of the variants, the Airbus A330-300 has the greatest number of deliveries with 771 in total.
643 Airbus A330-200s and 48 Airbus A330-900neos were delivered with the remaining 38 serving as freighters under the -200 airframe. Government and executive operators account for 58 A330 deliveries with around 50 submitted for tanker conversion.
Airbus also separately manufactured 3 modified A330-700L aircraft, known as the Beluga XL, for internal company logistics.
Airbus And the A330
With the first Airbus A330 having been operated by now-defunct Air Inter (IT) in 1994, Airbus has taken 26 years to reach 1,500 deliveries, the first A330 to be built has even been retired.
Airbus intends to start delivering the first A330-800neos to complement the Airbus A330-900neo, with one getting ready to soon join the Uganda Airlines (UR) fleet.
The company also secured certification for an enhanced weight variant of the Airbus A330-900neo, furthering the range capabilities of the aircraft.
Airbus’ First Integrated Production
Airbus says that the delivery milestone highlights the “enduring qualities” of the aircraft type which serves as a platform for a wide range of modifications along with aerodynamic and payload capabilities with further options in fuel efficiency and interior configuration.
The company further adds that the A330 was their “first long-range aircraft and the first program to have an integrated final assembly facility with the [assembly line], the paint shop and cabin furnishing in the same place”.
While monthly production has slowed due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the Airbus A330 provides an enduring, long-range platform that will continue to be in production and use with airlines ranging from DL and Air Senegal (HC) to European Air Transport Leipzig (QY).