Airbus announced plans for a new lower weight variant of its A330-300 widebody specifically designed for use on domestic and regional routes in high-growth markets with large populations and concentrated traffic flows, the company announced Wednesday at the Aviation Expo China show in Beijing. Airbus considers China one of its most important markets for the new version of the A330, according to Airbus CEO Fabrice Bregier. “Operators of the new A330-300 variant will benefit from a proven, mature and reliable aircraft that brings relief to limited airspace, airport congestion and pilot shortage,” said Bregier at the show. “We are announcing the new A330-300 lower weight variant today in China because here we see strong pent-up demand for efficient and reliable widebody aircraft connecting mega cities such as Beijing, Shanghai, Chengdu and Guangzhou.”
While the current A330-300 variants most efficiently fly longer-range missions of up to 6,100 nautical miles, the new A330-300 regional and domestic variant would fly up to around 400 passengers on missions up to 3,000 nm and offer what Airbus calls significant cost savings through a reduced operational weight of around 200 metric tons. The company expects the changes to result in a 15-percent reduction in operating costs through a combination of per-seat fuel burn improvements and maintenance cost efficiencies.