Airbus Industrie is actively offering an increased weight, extended range derivative of the A330-300 twinjet, as final assembly of the first A330-200 progresses at Toulouse.

The range of the new high-gross-weight (HGW) version of the -300 would typically be boosted by some 1,300km (700nm) to around 10,200km. The increase, which will be incorporated into the aircraft only if specified by the customer, would extend the twinjet's reach to now cover routes between Europe and Asia or the US West Coast.

The HGW features the strengthened wing and fuselage structure of the shorter, long range, 253-seat A330-200. This enables maximum take-off weight (MTOW) to be boosted by 12t, to give the HGW A330-300 the same 230t (507,000lb) weight as the A330-200. The heavyweight -300 does not, however, feature the centre-section fuel tank of the -200, so fuel capacity remains at the standard 97,290 litres.

The heavierA330-300 will be offered with the same 300kN to 316kN (68,000lb to 71,100lb)-thrust powerplants which are specified on the -200.

The A330-300, which shares the same fuselage dimensions as the four-engined A340-300, typically seats 295 passengers in a three-class layout, or 335 in two classes.

"The A330-200 resulted from from the weight growth first developed for the HGW A340-300," explains Alan Pardoe, A330/A340 product manager for Airbus' marketing division.

"We are now incorporating that weight and structure into the basic A330-300, which entered service at 212t [MTOW], and is now operating at up to 218t," he says.

The consortium is targeting certification and entry into service in late 1998, depending on customer requirements. Airbus says that, as it has only recently begun actively offering the HGW -300, firm customer commitments have not yet been secured.

Meanwhile, Aerospatiale has begun final assembly of the first A330-200 at Toulouse, with the mating of the forward, centre and aft fuselage sections occurring on 25 March. It will have its first flight in August, and enter service with Canada 3000 in April 1998.

Source: Flight International