Today's handover of a -300 model to Cathay Pacific Airways makes the Airbus A330 the first European-built widebody to reach the 1,000-deliveries milestone.
Following launch of the A330/A340 programme in 1987, first flight of the baseline A330-300 took place in 1992, and the type entered service with Air Inter two years later. Cathay Pacific received its first aircraft in 1995 and has since placed a total of nine follow-on orders, taking the Hong Kong-based group's total firm commitments to 54 aircraft, of which 44 have been delivered, including today's landmark handover.
Total A330-family orders stood at 1,252 at the end of June. The bulk of these are accounted for by the -300 and the reduced-capacity, longer-range -200 passenger models. The rest is made up of -200F freighters, VIP ACJ330s and military MRTT tanker/transports.
Airbus head of twin aisle product marketing Crawford Hamilton says the A330 has continued to sell in significant numbers even since the launch of the Boeing 787, logging 800 additional commitments since the new-generation US competitor twinjet entered the market 10 years ago. The A330 operator base stands and 101 and the production rate is running at 10 per month, with a further increase under study, says Hamilton.