The Airbus A330 (known as the A330 until the A330-200 is launched) is a medium-capacity long-haul aircraft build by European aircraft manufacturer Airbus. It shares its development program with the four-engine A340, with the difference of A330 directly targeting the ETOPS market for twin-engine widebody aircraft.
The A330-300 is a twin-engine aircraft originally designed for medium-haul flights. Following improvements, this aircraft became more and more suitable for long-haul flights. However, during its development, the manufacturer distinguish the four-engine A340 equipped with a CFM56 engine as a long-haul aircraft and the A330 as a medium-haul aircraft.
Airbus was very successful with this strategy with Cathay Pacific, who ordered both types of aircraft.
The A330-33 can hold an average 375 passengers, but can reach up to 440 passengers with certain airlines. The aircraft can be built with a modification of the doors when there are 440 seats available. The two different configurations were adopted by airline customers. The A330-343s made for Lion Air, a new user in 2015 have 440 seats. These aircraft were sold to replace Boeing B747s. As the A330-300 Regional seeks to hold 400 passengers this specification will soon be more frequent.
The Airbus A330-300s are equipped with General Electric engines, which have improved over years of production. China Airlines currently operates the largest number of General Electric Versions, with a fleet of 24 A330-302s as of February 2015.
The A330 is characterized by the variety of engines available: all engines from three manufacturers in this category are available. Thus, airlines can also select engines from Pratt & Whitney. This first customer was Thai Airways International.
On January 12, 2015, the A330-300 prototype, with 242 tons of maximum take-off weight passed its first test flight.