Airbus to offer higher-weight retrofit for newer A330s

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Airbus is to begin offering A330-200 customers a higher gross weight retrofit package from November next year, three months after it becomes an option on new-build aircraft.

Korean Air became the first airline to commit to the higher-weight aircraft, whose maximum take-off weight of 238t is 5t heavier than the current figure, with an order for six earlier this year.

Airbus, which held a technical briefing in Hamburg today, says it will make the retrofit package available to post-February 2004 aircraft from November 2010.

The higher weight - enabling an extra 3.4t of payload or 330nm (610km) additional range - will be an option for new-build aircraft from August 2010.

"For the retrofit, upgrading in-service aircraft should only take a few days for airlines to complete," says Airbus.

Director of A330 product marketing Alan Pardoe says the retrofit is achievable within existing C-check downtime. He adds that the enhancement does not result in any empty-weight increase.

Airbus chief operating officer for customers John Leahy says the higher gross weight A330 "will match" the range of the Boeing 787-8.