Airbus cool on A330neo plans

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Airbus is not looking to extend its potential A330 improvement measures to new engines, but is keen to broaden the twinjet's appeal and lengthen its production life ahead of A350 development.

The airframer is pondering sharklet wingtips for the A330, a modification tested on the A320 before Airbus chose to consolidate fuel-burn improvement by re-engining it as the A320neo.

"The A330 has a future and we want to keep it at the cutting edge of technology and performance," says EADS chief executive Louis Gallois. "So Airbus is encouraged to look at possible improvements with a good business case."

But Gallois also says that "for the time being" Airbus is "not thinking of new engines" on the A330. Developing a re-engined A330neo would effectively recreate a configuration rejected in favour of the current A350 family, and would encroach on the 250-seat market of the A350-800.