The Airbus A330 is a medium-capacity, long-haul aircraft designed and manufactured by Airbus. It shares its development program with the four-engine A340, except that the A330 directly targets the ETOPS (transatlantic flight certification) market and twin-engine widebody aircraft.
There are several different versions of the Airbus A330. The A330-300 is the original version, a long aircraft with long range. The A330-200 is shorter by 5 meters, however is designed on the exact same model as the A330-300. The only difference is the reduced length, which does not allow the same number of passengers in terms of transport, however increases fuel capacity. This places the aircraft on the market for long-haul flights.
The A330-200 is primarily operated on medium-capacity long-haul routes, or as a pioneer or line discoverer. Thus, the first customer Korean Air ordered three A330-200 aircraft to enhance its flights between Seoul and Honolulu. In 2009, Korean Air was again the first customer to purchase the new version of the A330-200, with a 12,600-km range, ordering 6 such aircraft.
Despite its reputation as a medium-capacity aircraft it still can transport 375 passengers, depending on its configuration. Furthermore, if the aircraft is manufactured in accordance with plans to include a change in the number of doors, it can accommodate 406 passengers.
After its development, Airbus improved the A330-200’s range to 12,600 km, which is still greater than the -300-model’s range. Highly efficient as a medium/long-haul carrier, it offers a solution to the range/cost problem. Furthermore, its cargo capacity is higher than that of a Boeing 747, despite the volume of passengers and luggage. This aircraft thus responds to the demand created by the multiplication of direct intercontinental flights.