Air Mauritius has agreed long-term leases for two Airbus A330-900neos with Air Lease Corporation. The two aircraft will join the carrier in September and October 2018, replacing two A340-300Es whose leases expires in November and December 2018. Air Mauritius will initially deploy the aircraft on medium haul routes to Guangzhou, Hong Kong, Delhi and Perth.
The A330-900s will be configured in a two-class layout accommodating 291 passengers with 28 fully lie-flat seats in Business Class and 263 in Economy. The jets will also feature a new inflight entertainment system as well as Wi-Fi.
“This decision follows a thorough evaluation process and accelerates the fleet renewal program of the airline with another state of the art aircraft,” Air Mauritius said in a statement.
“The replacement of the two A340-300E by the A330-900 aircraft is key to modernising the fleet of Air Mauritius and will offer enhanced passenger experience and comfort, operating efficiencies and technological innovation. The new aircraft will also allow Air Mauritius to improve its products and competitiveness in the current dynamic and challenging market environment.”
Air Mauritius also has six A350-900s on order and has announced it is deferring delivery of the last two from 2020 to 2023.
Final assembly of the first Airbus A330neo has begun at the manufacturer’s facility in Toulouse, France. The wings of the jet, an A330-900, have been mated to the centre fuselage at the station 40 position of the assembly line.
“We have started with a very tight development schedule and are today right on time,” says Odile Jubécourt, Airbus Head of the A330neo programme. “I am happy to say we are in good shape to meet the high standards of maturity and reliability our customers expect from us and I want to thank the teams for this outstanding achievement.”
Both the A330-800 and -900 will have a new A350-inspired wing with Sharklets coupled with Rolls-Royce Trent 7000 engines which Airbus claims will reduce fuel consumption by 14% per seat. The neo also offers an additional 400nm range over the existing ceo, giving the A330-900 a 6,550nm range and the A330-800 7,500nm. The manufacturer added the -800 and -900 will share a 99% commonality, while the entire A330 family is 95% common.
Ten customers have ordered the new variants, totalling 186 firm commitments.
Korean Air Aerospace Division (KAL-ASD) has delivered the first set of Sharklets for the Airbus A330neo. The shipset, which was handed over to the European manufacturer at an event in Busan on September 13, marks the conclusion of a nearly 18-month development programme that kicked off in April 2015.
The new Sharklets, which measure 6.6ft (2m) wide and 13.1ft (4m) long, are a bigger version of those pioneered on the smaller A320 Family. They will extend the A330neo’s wingspan from the current 197.8ft (60.3m) to 210ft (64m) while increasing lift and reducing drag. They are a key part of a wider package of aerodynamic improvements for the A330neo that will reduce carbon dioxide emissions and increase fuel efficiency by 4%.
The Sharklets, which decrease aerodynamic drag by helping reduce the spiral-shaped vortices formed at aircraft wingtips during flight, are currently offered as an option on members of the in-production A320ceo Family, and are fitted as standard on A320neo.
The A330neo Sharklet programme is the latest in a series of projects undertaken by KAL-ASD on behalf of Airbus. This also includes A320 Sharklets (manufactured by the Korean firm since 2009) and cargo doors for the A350 XWB.
Garuda Indonesia has placed a firm order for 14 Airbus A330-900neos. The deal, signed in London on April 19 in the presence of Indonesian President Joko Widodo and British Prime Minister David Cameron, replaces and extends an existing order for seven A330-300s.
Speaking at the signing, Garuda’s CEO Arif Wibowo said: “We are pleased to announce that we continue our long-standing relationship with Airbus. Both Garuda Indonesia and Airbus fully understand the aim of the deal as a long-term strategy to win the global challenge.” He added: “The A330neo represents a more-efficient future for us. This order restructuring is believed to support our continued commitment to deliver the most modern, comfortable and excellent air travel service to all customers as well as to strengthen the sustained positive growth and business expansion of the company. Furthermore, we are confident that this latest technology aircraft will support us to compete better in the industry.”
Deliveries of the re-engined aircraft, which will be powered by the latest generation Rolls-Royce Trent 7000, will start in 2019.