Airbus this morning unveiled the A330neo as the latest member of the company’s line-up of widebody corporate jets, offering 17.5% more range than the baseline version.
The re-engined A330-900 is now scheduled to enter commercial service in 2018, but Airbus is already looking for customers for the VIP version.
John Leahy, Airbus chief operating officer for customers, singles out the head-of-state and government delegation sector as a particular market opportunity for the ACJ330neo.
“The ACJ330neo offers an unbeatable combination of modern design, proven capability and productivity, as well as being part of the world’s best-selling widebody family,” Leahy says.
The A330-900 has been delayed by the availability of Rolls-Royce Trent 7000 engines. Flight tests are expected to start later this summer.
The ACJ330neo will be developed from both the A330-900 and the smaller, but longer-range, A330-800 models.
When equipped with Trent 7000 engines, the ACJ330neo will offer 9,400nm (17,400km) range, a 17.5% increase over the baseline ACJ330, Airbus says.
The market for VIP widebodies has tailed off recently. Airbus delivered only one ACJ model last year – an ACJ330. Customers also took delivery in 2016 of only one widebody Boeing Business Jet, a variant of the 777-300ER, according to data released by the General Aviation Manufacturers Association (GAMA).
But BBJ deliveries picked up in the first quarter this year. Boeing delivered one each of BBJ derivatives of the 777-300ER, 787-8 and 787-9 up to 31 March, GAMA’s database shows. Airbus did not deliver any narrowbody or widebody ACJs in the first quarter.