Airbus has yet to rule out completely a possible sharklet wing-tip modification on the A330 but is not intending to pursue a re-engined version.

Chief operating officer for customers John Leahy says he will "keep pushing our engineers" to look at adapting the sharklets - developed for the A320 - to the larger twinjet.

Airbus has been tweaking the A330's performance, unveiling a 242t maximum take-off weight version last year which it aims to deliver before mid-2015.

But Leahy indicates that new engines for the type - creating a theoretical A330neo - would be problematic.

"If you say 're-engined', then I'd say 'no'," he says. If the aircraft is already optimised, he says, "[you] don't put one of these heavy engines on it".

The sharklet suggestion is still facing resistance within Airbus. Executive vice-president for programmes Tom Williams says he can "understand the logic" of the suggestion but is "not so sure on the advantages".

Leahy casually suggests the A330 could still remain in production in 2022, while Airbus chief Fabrice Brégier says it remains a lower-cost alternative to the A350.

"If you don't need the full range you can be competitive on many routes with an A330," he says.

Source: Air Transport Intelligence news