The Airbus A330-200 was launched in November 1995 but its design plan dates back to the mid-1970s when the manufacturer began development of the A300B9, a larger derivative of the A300.
The -B9 was a lengthened A300 with the same wing, coupled with more powerful engines, and later became the A330. It was developed in parallel with the -B11 variant, which would become the A340 to compete with the Boeing 767-300ER model.
The A330-200 version shares near identical systems, airframe, flightdeck and wings of the -300 variant. It has additional fuel capacity and, like the A330-300 variant, has a maximum take-off weight (MTOW) of 233t. Typical range with 253 passengers in a three-class configuration is 6,750 nautical miles (nm).
First flight was performed in August 1997 while the first aircraft was delivered to ILFC in April 1998.
In September 2008, Airbus released plans for a higher gross weight version of the A330-200 to more effectively compete against the Boeing 787. The new aircraft, the A330-200 enhanced version, has a 238t MTOW giving approximately a 230 nm extra range.
Airbus further hiked the MTOW to 242t in November 2012. The enhancement extended the range of the A330-200 model by 350 nm over the 238t version.
The A330-200 is powered by two General Electric CF6-80E1, Pratt & Whitney PW4168A and Rolls Royce Trent 772 engines. All engines are ETOPS-180 minutes rated.
Although each of the three available engine platforms has an acceptable size, the Rolls Royce-powered fleet is by far the most successful and dominates the current orderbook.
According to Flightglobal's Ascend Online database, the Trent 700 series powers a fleet of 227 aircraft while backlog for the type remains at 42 units.
The General Electric-powered fleet accounts for 137 units while another 10 aircraft have been selected on future orders.
The Pratt & Whitney PW4168A/70A engines equips 105 aircraft. Another 15 units are on backlog.
The Rolls Royce fleet average is 6.4 years compared with 7.4 years for the General Electric fleet and 8.4 years for the Pratt & Whitney's fleet.
Airbus began delivering the A330-200 freighter derivative, the A330-200F, in 2010.
Deliveries reached 23 aircraft at July 2013 with another 22 freighters, all powered by Rolls Royce engines, on backlog.
EADS and ST Aerospace formally launched a passenger to freighter conversion in May 2012, which is expected to extend the life of the A330 family aircraft. The A330-200P2F has a payload capacity of up to 59t on 4,000 nm range. Airbus says the aircraft is optimised for higher-density freight and longer-range performance.
Total A330-family orders stood at 1,252 at the end of June. The bulk of these are accounted for by the -200 and the higher-capacity, -300 passenger models. The rest is made up of -200 freighters, VIP ACJ330s and military MRTT tanker/transports.
Airbus, which delivered its 1000th A330 aircraft earlier this month, says the series has outsold the 787 by "five to one" during the past five years. The number of A330 operators has doubled to 100 from 50 since the 787's launch in April 2004 with more than 800 units sold.
The manufacturer delivered 479 A330-200 passenger aircraft to customers through 15 July and had another 64 units on backlog.
It has handed over 21 units, so far, this year and is planning on delivering another 19 units by year-end.
Airbus is scheduled to deliver 24 aircraft in 2014, followed by another seven units in 2015. The last A330-200 is scheduled for delivery to Hawaiian Airlines in October 2015.
Kingfisher Airlines' 15-aircraft order still stands in Airbus's orderbook but the deliveries have been indefinitely postponed.
An estimated 451 A330-200s are in service with about 21 aircraft in storage or in transit.
One 2001-vintage aircraft, previously operated by BMI, was purchased by TPG Capital for part out last autumn. The aircraft was powered with Rolls Royce engines.
Ascend says two A330-200s are scheduled to be permanently withdrawn from use by TAM Linhas Aereas.
The programme suffered one aircraft loss in May 2009 when an Air France Rio-to-Paris flight disappeared off the Brazilian coast. The General Electric CF6-powered twinjet, MSN 660, was delivered new in April 2005 and had recorded 18,870 flight hours.
According to Flightglobal's Ascend database, the A330-200 accounts for 37% of the total A330/A340 family market and accounts for 51% of the A330 sector.
Ascend says that 41% of the fleet is five years old or less. Another 33% of the fleet is between six and 10 years old while the remaining 26% is between 11 and 15 years old.
Asia-Pacific is the largest region with an estimated 163 A330-200s in service. Rolls Royce accounts for 54% of the in-service fleet in Asia Pacific while General Electric powers about 24.5% and Pratt & Whitney the remaining 21.5%.
European carriers operate 109 aircraft with 57% General Electric-powered fleet and 24.7% powered by Pratt & Whitney. In Europe, Rolls Royce accounts for 18.3% of the fleet.
Airlines in Africa and the Middle East operate 107 units. Rolls Royce dominates the region with approximately 70% of the in-service fleet. General Electric powers about 24% of the aircraft, while Pratt & Whitney has the remaining 6% of the market share.
The Americas operate 72 aircraft in total. North America's 41-unit fleet includes 30 aircraft powered by Rolls Royce and 11 by Pratt & Whitney. In the Latin America and Caribbean region, Pratt & Whitney leads with 15 units, Rolls Royce equips 11 aircraft while the remaining five are powered by General Electri
Air China is the largest customer of the type with 27 units. China Eastern Airlines and China Southern Airlines operate 15 and 16 aircraft, respectively. The Middle East top three carriers for the type are Emirates Airline (23 units), Etihad Airways (18 units) and Qatar Airways (17 units). In Europe, Air France is the largest customer with 15 aircraft, ahead of Air Berlin (14 units) and KLM (12 units). TAM operates 19 units while Hawaiian and Delta Air Lines have 13 and 11 aircraft in their fleet.
The A330 remains popular with the leasing companies with close to 50% of the passenger and freighter fleet owned by operating lessors, says Ascend.
The A330-200 retains a good combination of long-range, capacity and fuel efficiency and few aircraft have seen recent lease extensions in the face of the (now solved) Boeing 787 battery issues.
The model's main competitors are the 787-8 and 767-300ER models.
"Demand for aircraft in this segment has grown considerably over the past 15 years as a result of the proliferation of point-to-point flying. With a range in excess of 7,200 nm with a typical passenger load, the A330-200 has the ability to fly such popular routes as New York-Tokyo, Beijing-Los Angeles and London-Cape Town. In addition, the A330-200 is a more capable aircraft than the 767-300ER, and has beaten the Boeing product in many sales campaigns during the past 10 years - such that production of 767-300ERs has dwindled to very low levels," says ICF SH&E.
ICF SH&E says the 767-300ER does not have payload and range capability of the A330-200 but it is still a "formidable aircraft" with a substantial fleet and operator base (more than 550 aircraft in service with 85 operators). In addition, the 767-300ER has a capital cost "advantage" over the A330-200 and "would be an attractive option for a new entrant," says the firm.
"Additional future competition will stem from the 787-9 and A350-800, both anticipated to offer greater range and capacity than the A330-200."
The A330-200 orderbook has benefitted from significant 787 and A350 XWB programme delays during the past seven years.
"Even when the 787 and A350 enter into service, the A330 should continue to see a good long term future as a passenger aircraft since this aircraft will serve as a great compliment to an A350 fleet serving various shorter range markets, says Collateral Verifications. "The delays on the 787 and the fact that the A350 will not be delivered until 2013 plus have also helped the maintain some demand for this aircraft due to many operators choosing the A330 to either compliment such orders or to be used as interim lift."
IBA Group says the introduction of the 242t version on the A330 family will narrow the range gap between the two models and make the -300 even more attractive by comparison.
ICF SH&E agrees. "Perhaps more importantly, the aircraft is s facing competition as well from its sistership, the A330-300. It now offers the range required on nearly all missions that previously required the legs of the A330-200, with a significant increase in revenue generating capacity at marginally higher trip costs and lower seat-mile costs."
Availability is limited despite the number of aircraft still in storage. The stored Pratt & Whitney-powered fleet is about two-thirds owned by airlines and one-third by operating lessors.
ILFC is the most exposed lessor to the Pratt & Whitney fleet. It currently has 14 aircraft in its fleet or under management. GECAS and Amentum Capital have six A330-200s each.
ILFC has placed four ex-Malaysian Airlines aircraft with Aerolineas Argentinas. The leased units, which were built in 1999 and 2000, are on six- to eight-year lease terms with the Argentine flag carrier.
The US operating lessor has also signed lease extensions with Air Transat for another seven years on a pair of 1999 and 2002-vintage aircraft.
DAE Capital has had three A330s returned from Kingfisher Airlines and is currently remarketing one unit. The other two aircraft are rumoured to have been placed with Arik Air. The Nigerian carrier is also believed to be leasing another A330-200 aircraft, 2009-vintage, from Pembroke that was previously operated by Kingfisher Airlines.
A lot of market focus has been on the remarketing of the Kingfisher Airlines' fleet as well as how the first exits from Emirates and TAM are being managed. Lessor DAE Capital is currently advertising eight Emirates aircraft that were built between 1998 and 2001.
Lease rates are believed to be in the high $300,000 a month range for late 1990-vintage aircraft and above $400,000 for a 2000-vintage model.
Rolls Royce-powered aircraft command lease rates above $600,000 a month for a 2009-vintage aircraft, says a leasing source.
Another source highlights how uncertainty about when the A350 model will hit the market is impacting the A330 . "We don't know if the A350 will be delivered on time, so some airlines anticipate a slight delay in their fleet replacement strategy," he says.
He explains that as an owner it is better to have an old aircraft in its portfolio, rather than a young unit. "With a 10-12-year-old model, you might sign or extend for a long lease and consider part-out options, as the aircraft will be 20 years old," he says.
One carrier is believed to be in the market with a request for proposals for up to three A330-200s under a purchase and leaseback transaction. The assets are early vintage and are attracting part-out companies. One source says bidding is likely to start well below the $30 million market, especially if the lease term is short.
Current market values and lease rates
Base values have remained steady over the years, says Ascend, with a slight decline for older aircraft. The value lost in 2011 was recovered and the aircraft showed good upside during the peak years. Ascend expects the A330-200 to recover its value lost during the past two years.
Market value retention for aircraft more than five years old has been strong, but as the aircraft approaches the last phase of its production cycle and competition becomes stronger, old technology A330-200s are expected to be more volatile than newer aircraft, explains Ascend.
Market values reduced at the start of this year by 11 to 13% and range between $34 million for a 1998-built aircraft and $83 million for a 2013-built aircraft, says Ascend. Higher weight and engine thrust could increase values by up to an extra $4 million.
Ascend says market lease rates fell by 7 to 11% in early 2013, although some newer vintages have recovered slightly since. They range from $355,000 per month for a 1998-built model to $780,000 per month for a new aircraft, with higher specifications and buyer furnished equipment pushing this above $800,000 per month.
Collateral Verifications vice president commercial aviation services Gueric Dechavanne notes a 7% to 15% drop in values, depending on the vintage.
He says the trend to shift to the A330-300 model, which offers more flexibility and capacity, is expected to continue and may lead to further declines in values and lease rates for the type.
Lease rentals on the other hand have remained stable with a slight drop of 5% during the same time frame, according to Dechavanne.
According to him, lease rates are between $375,000 and $400,000 a month for early vintage P&W powered aircraft with a MTOW of 233t, $525,000 a month for a 2004-delivery and $625,000 for a five-year-old aircraft. New aircraft lease in the $850,000 a month range.
IBA Group's senior analyst Alice Gondry says a new delivery leases for $770,000 a month while a five-year-old model has a $620,000 a month lease rate. Early models are in the $375,000 and $410,000 a month range.
ICF SH&E says lease rates for a 238t version are between $330,000 and $410,000 a month for early vintage, $440,000 and $500,000 a month for a 2004-delivery and $550,000 and $630,000 for a five-year-old aircraft. New aircraft lease in the $740-825,000 a month range.
Values for a 1998-vintage model are between $33.3 million and $35.8 million according to appraisers.
The differential on a 13-year-old aircraft is $4.5 million with Ascend the lowest at $35.3 million and MBA the highest at $39.9 million.
The discrepancy widens to $11 million for a 2004-built aircraft. Ascend values the A330-200 at $40.8 million while IBA Group quotes a value of $51.6 million.
A new delivery is valued at $83 million by Ascend, $86 million by IBA Group, $90 million by Collateral Verifications and at $92 million range by ICF SH&E and MBA.
Earlier this year appraisers differed by an average of 12% on base values for a December 2013 delivery, powered by Rolls Royce Trent 772B-60 engines, for US Airways.
MBA had the lowest future base value opinion among all three appraisers with values ranging from $95.35 million (December 2013 delivery) to $96.15 million (May 2014 delivery). MBA had $95.83 million for the March 2014 delivery and $95.99 million for the aircraft to be delivered in April next year.
BK Associates values the December 2013 delivery slightly more at $96.1 million, while it believes the March delivery is worth $96.5 million. The April and May deliveries are valued at $96.85 million each, according to BK. Aircraft Information Services (AISI) came up with the highest value opinion with a $109.4 million appraisal for the May 2014 delivery. The April and March deliveries have base values above $109 million. AISI values the December 2013 delivery at $108.5 million.