Airbus expects to achieve a range of 6,200nm with its A330-900neo, which will be the first re-engined variant to market, while the -800neo will be able to reach 7,450nm.
The airframer believes this range capability will enable the A330neo to compete effectively against the Boeing 787 in most instances.
Airbus says that, even with the range limitation of the A330neo, it can pursue demand for 4,000 aircraft and says there is an open market, not already addressed by backlogs, for 2,600 jets with operators already using A330s.
Both A330neo variants will have a maximum take-off weight of 242t, with design freeze for the type taking place in 2015, shortly after the entry into service of the 242t version of the current A330.
The A330-900neo – with a basic configuration of 310 seats – will be introduced in the fourth quarter of 2017 while the 252-seat -800neo will arrive in early 2018.
Aerodynamic modifications will include a re-twisted wing and optimised slats and fairings, as well as A350-style wing-tips which will increase the span by 3.7m to 64m. The smoother line of the wing-tips means they will be just 1m high rather than the 1.6m of the current A330 winglets.
Airbus chief executive Fabrice Bregier insists that the wing changes will be minimal, amounting to reinforcement and weight-reduction measures.
“We don’t intend to change, for example, the centre wing-box, which is very complex,” he says.
On a 4,000nm flight Airbus intends to achieve an 11% fuel-burn saving over the 235t A330-300, through the use of Rolls-Royce Trent 7000 engines, minus around 1% for additional drag and 2% for weight.
But the aerodynamic enhancements will provide another 4% in fuel-burn benefit, giving an overall 12% improvement in fuel-burn per trip. Interior reconfiguration to save space will allow another six to 10 seats, bringing the fuel-burn reduction per seat to 14%.
“That’s game-changing,” claimed Airbus chief operating officer for customers John Leahy, speaking as the airframer detailed the aircraft at the Farnborough air show.
He says the specifications for the aircraft are “all guaranteeable” to airline customers.
The A330-900neo will have a maximum landing weight of 191t while that for the -800neo will be 186t.
Rolls-Royce’s Trent 7000 will have a 112in (2.84m) fan and deliver thrust of 72,000lb. The engine will double the bypass ratio to 10:1.
Although the Trent 1000, on which the new engine is based, is a bleedless engine, Rolls-Royce and Airbus will stay with a conventional bleed-air design for the A330neo. But the powerplant will be made more reliable with greater use of electrical, rather than pneumatic, regulation systems.
Airbus will aim for 95% spares commonality with the A330 and seek the type rating for cockpit crews.