Thanks to the 2 year delay on the Boeing 787 Dreamliner, airlines who had previously ordered the aircraft, are rushing to fill the gap with the Airbus A330.
Qantas which has placed firm orders for 65 Dreamliners with options for an additional 50, has leased six A330’s for its low cost subsidiary JetStar. Ironically, Qantas is funding the lease with compensation it is receiving from Boeing as liquidated damages towards the delay in delivery.
The story is being repeated by other major Dreamliner customers, like Singapore Airlines and Etihad Airways who are rushing A330s in to their fleets to fill the gap.
Two weeks ago, December 30, marked the 15th anniversay of the first A330 to be delivered. In 1993, Airbus delivered the first A330-300 to Air Inter, registered F-GMDB. The aircraft, construction number 037 test registration F-WWKE, is now with Brussels Airlines as OO-SFN accumulating a total of more than 50,000 flight hours.
There are some 250 A30-300s in service today, with more than 130 firmly-ordered aircraft still to be delivered.
A growing proportion of the A330-300 fleet is now employed on extended-distance regional routes, such as those linking Middle East destinations with European capital cities. Similar flight lengths characterise the segments flown between Australia and Asia or from Europe to North America.
In 2009, Singapore Airlines, Etihad, Gulf Air, Oman Air, Saudi Arabian Airlines, Aeroflot, Finnair and Swiss will receive delivery.