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Home > Airplanes > What do you think of the Airbus A330?
What do you think of the Airbus A330?
Aviation - Airplanes
Friday, 29 February 2008 09:35

Hi Captain Lim,

I was just reading your latest post on someone asking, " What if an engine catches fire in the air? " I understand that the Boeing 777 is one of the safest airlines but I did not get to read much about Airbus A330 in your website. May I know what do you think of the Airbus A330?

It seems like many airlines are using Airbus to those places which are less than 7 or 8 hours. I will be flying on A330 in a few days' time and hope to hear about this from you. I am trying to calm myself down and be prepared to fly Frown

Thanks so much.

Esterly

Hi Esterly,

The Airbus A330 (two engines) is a large-capacity, wide-body, medium-to-long-range commercial passenger airliner. It was developed at the same time as the Airbus A340 (4 engines), and will likely be replaced by the Airbus A350. The first Airbus A330 was launched in 1987 and introduced into passenger services in 1993.

The A330's fuselage and wings are virtually identical to that of the smaller A340 variants. The A330 basic fuselage design is inherited from the Airbus A300, as is the nose/cockpit section, the fly-by-wire system and flight deck from the A320.

By the end of December 2007, a total of 870 A330s had been ordered and 515 delivered. The cost of the Airbus A330 is around USD175 million each.

What do I think about this plane?

Well, the Airbus A330 is almost comparable to the Boeing 777. In some respect, its software is even better than the Boeing 777 but I think it lost out in the hardware aspect of the plane.

Prior to the British Airways Boeing 777 crash in London Heathrow on 17 January 2008, the Boeing 777 had a clean record where hull loss was concerned. (A hull loss is an accident in which the damage to the plane is such that it must be written off, or in which the plane is totally destroyed.)

In the case of the Airbus A330, it has 2 hull-loss accidents with a total of 7 fatalities. One arose on a test flight in Toulouse and the other was caused by corrosive liquid illegally loaded onto the plane. The 7 Airbus A330 fatalities were in fact the crew and personnel involved with the test flight and so one can say that no commercial passengers have so far been affected in the 15 years that it has flown.

However, there were three other occurrences with no fatalities on this plane. In July 2001, two Sri Lankan Airlines A330s were destroyed on the ground by the Tamil Tiger Guerillas. Then in August 2001, an Air Transat A330 suffered fuel starvation on both engines over the Atlantic Ocean and glided without power over 65 miles to a safe landing on the Azores Islands. The last incident occurred in July 2003 where a Dragonair A330 encountered severe turbulence over the South China Sea. 12 crew members and 3 passengers were injured. The aircraft landed safely at the Hong Kong International Airport.

My conclusion on the A330 is that, it is a very safe airplane but because of its wing design, any turbulence tends to be more pronounced than, for instance, on a Boeing 777. But then, one should not be afraid of turbulence - it is only an issue of discomfort rather than one of safety. Have yourself well strapped in during turbulence and I am sure you will enjoy your flight on the Airbus A330!

Have a look at the video below on the Airbus A330, A340 and the A350...

Air France Airbus A330 Family
Airbus A350 - Replacement of the Airbus A330

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Mr. , Low-rated comment [Show]
... , Low-rated comment [Show]
A330
Captain Lim, I will be on Air Asia to London end of the year and I know it will be a A330. The recent plane tragedy in Paris was thought to be caused by faulty computerized flight files, which affected A330 and A340 (http://www.time.com/time/world...21,00.html). Have you flown an A330 through turbulence before? Can you share your experience with us?
Tracy , 03 Jun, 2009
...
I am not a pilot, but I understand a lot about this airplane since I have worked with it for about six years now as an engineer. All I can say is, its too early to pinpoint that something is inherently wrong with the automated flight systems and airframe of the A330. It is an excellent aircraft, the design has matured and has pretty much proven itself with major airlines around the world. Accidents happen because of a series/chain of unfortunate events (weather, component failure, crew input and reaction) which combine to produce a catastrophe. I am sure that the A330 is an excellent aircraft, and its track record of only one revenue fatal accident in about 15 years of operation speaks for itself. Relax and enjoy your trip, aryt? =)
Mark , 06 Jun, 2009
Why ?
Why
330 ( 2 Engines )
340 ( 4 Engines ) ?
And only 40 passenger deference
DaVinci , 07 Jun, 2009
... , Low-rated comment [Show]
turkish airline with a330 and 11 hour flight non stop !!!
hi captain ,
ill have flight with turkish airline , from toronto to istanbul , and it is non stop flight and its about 11 hour with airbus a330 200 , what do you think about this airline and this aircraft , idont know whay but i think how can it go without any stop for 11 hour ,and if it was a340 it was not beter? thank u so much
hoss , 27 Jul, 2009
Re : Why A340 has 4 Engines
A reply to Davinci question on y the difference in 330 and 340 engines : I believe its the range the a/c flies. A340 is capable of flying futher non-stop approx 13,805km (7450nm)on A340-200 while A330-300 range only goes as long as approx 8430km (4550nm). A good example is SIA A340-500 that flies from SIN to LAX/NYC non-stop. The A330 won't be able to do it.
BeLieVer , 28 Jul, 2009
Re: why A340 has 4 engines
the a340 was developed to also bypass the ETOPS (Extended-range twin-engine operational standards. back in the early 1990s/late 1980s when twin engines aeroplanes operational limited them from being away from an airport more than a certain distance, due to unreliable engines. but now a days with proven reliability and performance of jet engines the ETOPS have been extended to the point that they can travel anywhere in the world with out limits same as 4 engined aircrafts, giving better fuel economy.
ARED , 10 Sep, 2009
A330-200 PHOBIA , Low-rated comment [Show]
A330 is a very safe aircraft.

Hello Captain Lim

I fully agree with your comments regarding Airbus A330.The Airbus A330/34 are very safe aircraft. They both haveen in service since 1993. In fact It is A330/340 offering by Airbus that prompted Boeing to Build its first Fly by wire jetliner the Boeing 777.
I personallly know acaptain who has flown the A330/340 for over 14 yrs. It said to me it is a pilots dream come true. The sidestick controller ,the fly by wire and autotrim makes flying the aircraft a pleasure.The Airbus A330-300 is a very economical aircraft. Infact within its 10,000 km range it does its missions more economically than Boeing 777. How ever the 777-200ER ean fly longer distance with significany payload. How ever The Airbus A340 cannot match the economics of the Boeing 777 due to its 4 engines.


The Airbus A330 and A340 both have have one great weakness. They both are terrible in handling turbulence. This is due to the wing design. When it comes to safety and reliability the A330 and 777 are both same.

During 2009 Australian airshow. i went to Airbus section and spoke to senior Airbus executives who came from Toulose. I talked about A330/340 turbulence effects .They said to me that A330/340 was their firt true long haul large capacity jetliner and they made made lots of progress since. He said they have A380 wings more sturdy and it can handle turbulence very well. The same goes for the composite wing of the Airbus A350.

The boeing 777 and A330/340 is great machines and they will be in active service for another 5 years with major carriers. Singapore airlines has alreday started phasing out its older Boeing 777 . The future belongs to Airbus A380. Airbus A350 and the Boeing 787 dreamliner.
Ravi , 30 Dec, 2009
ms , Low-rated comment [Show]
a330 conerns
yes i'm not encouraged myself after the latest crash. i have to admit that i'm avoiding traveling on this plane especially as i'm not a big fan of turbulence. in fact when i fly i always look to see what the aircraft is going to be.
raf , 23 May, 2010
a330
hi i am flying very soon to florida from london gatwick on a a330!as i am terrified of flying i have been reading about the aircraft.the problem i have is i am mechanicaly minded and any noise from the engine i think doesnt sound rite i panic!what it is i would like to know is what is the chances of staying in the air for a safe landing if one of the engines was to fail?can the aircraft still fly with one engine safely?regards rob
rob , 04 Jun, 2010
Boeing pilot
I had faced two times crash in my career. I am survived from it. Every machines have some technical faults. Any machine is not completely fit. When you fly or drive a machine do you know when it make disturbances.
ROY , 23 Jun, 2010
Mr.
Boeing and Airbus approach two different philosophies.
While noth manufacturers incorporate inflight computers to aid the pilots aviate and navigate
the aircraft. Basically today's jetliners can
almost virtually fly on their own after the pilots
input the route data to the inboard computers.
However, the Airbus puters would at many times
reject pilit's manual flying inputs, if the computer
thinks these imputs are illogical, unsafe or would
stress airframe.
With Boeing airplanes pilots always have the last
say and can have full controls whenever they choose
without computers getting in the way.
I'd prefer a 777 or 767 anytime over 330's anytime.
Best wishes,
DX.
DXer , 18 Jul, 2010
Re: A330 vs 777
I am not a big fan of the A330/A340 since I flew on both airlines as pax. The plane is very uncomfortable during turbulence and during landing in rough weather at ATL I was for the first time in my life afraid during the aproach. Since those flights (Iberia A340 and KL A330) I will always choose for a carrier with the 767 or 777. I prefer to pay more and fly on a Boeing then on the Airbus series and I am European so it has nothing to do with Boeing being a American product. After the Air France crash and the Afriqya Airways crash I walk away from all flights operated by an airbus (sorry Air Berlin). I have the opportunity to fly for a special price, due to my aviation work, on the A380 from CDG to LHR but I said no thank you very much, better please someone else with it. Sorry and no offence to the Airbus entousiasts but I won't fly it anymore if I don't have to.
Erwin , 26 Jul, 2010
A&P Mechanic. U.S Airways.
There has been a lot of talk recently over the choice to fly the A330 or the B777. I myself am a A&P aircraft mechanic and I work on the A330-300 everyday. I will tell you first hand that this a lovely aircraft. I would feel 100% safe flying this aircraft anywhere in the world. That being said if I had a choice? I would fly a B777 any day of the week. over the A330. The truth of the matter is the A330 is a rough airplane to fly in during turbulence. The A330 is honestly underpowered. Airbus knew this going into the design stages but wanted to keep a lower thrust engine on the wing to give it better fuel economy than at the time the 777-200 to make it more attractive to potential customers. So, how did they make up for the underpowered engines? They increased the over all length of the wing. Increased the air foil design and made the wing produce more lift during all stages of flight. So when the A330 encounters turbulence you will feel it more because the plane relies so much more on the increased lift design. Where as the B777 has a overall shorter wing than the A330 but has more powerful engines that create more thrust. Therefore the plane does not rely on the lift factor as much as the A330. To put it in another context the more you ride lift on the wings the more you will feel the turbulence because the aircraft relies so heavily on the increased lift. I hoped this helped some of you out. If you have to fly a A330 you will be okay I promise! If you have a choice fly a Boeing! If anyone has any more questions please feel free to contact me at Tyson422@Gmail.com
Have a great flight! smilies/wink.gif
Tyson , 27 Jul, 2010
...
Strange, isn't it better to have bigger wings area to be less vulnerable to bad weather conditions? If there are some vortexes say 10 meters lenght, a wing wich is 15 meter span will be affected on 66% and wing with 20 meters span will be affected only 50%. And what mean A330 has underpowered engines to save fuel? Same engine can produce 25k or 30k depending on softwear setting. This mean that flying with economy speed using 15k from engines for example it doesn't matter are they set to 25 or 30k - they produce same thrust with same amount of fuel- isn't it?
Stoyan , 23 May, 2011
Larger wings stable
What was said that airplanes with larger wings "being unstable in turbulence" is false, theoretically and practically an airplane with a larger wing, fuselage or larger than other plane will be more stable in turbulence than a smaller one, Stoyan wrote the correct explanation, one portion of the wing is in the turbulence and the other not. So, an airbus A330 will feel almost the same than a Boeing 777 in heavy turbulence.
I do not think that the A330 is underpowered, that is incorrect. Mexicana used the A330 for their transatlantic flights to Madrid and some to London, if the A330 was underpowered, it could not have taken off from Mexico City (MMMX), remember that MMMX is a hot and high at 7325 ft of altitude, a heavy and underpowered plane with a lot of Pax, cargo and fuel would simply not taken off, but it always flew uneventfully and non stop!, by comparison the Aeroméxico B777 always take off from MMMX to Shangai and has to stop for refueling at Tijuana (MMTJ), so in this case clearly A330 performed much better than the B777.
CF , 12 Jun, 2011
...
The A330 has been having quite a lot of dangerous incidents recently connected to the weather. Cold or turbulent weather confuses the pilot and the computer and damages the electronics.
It has a problem with severe tropical weather and Qantas has complained about this a few times.
Charles , 24 Jun, 2011
don't think 330 is safe
Air France acknowledges it didn't train it's pilots properly and that they depend far too heavily on computers, but them when there was a problem as with the AF flight 447 that went into the Atlantic flying from Rio the Captain and crew were unprepared to deal causing the death of everyone on board. Extensive research and a very good documentary on the subject would suggest that the design of the plane is at fault. The Pitot tubes seems to be poorly designed and malfunction under stress in certain weather conditions.

Say what you will about the 777 but none have nose dived into the Atlantic killing all aboard. I think these planes are unsafe and should ALL be grounded.
NIck , 28 Jul, 2011
confused...
i will fly a330 from GZ to melbourne soon, and i am being scared now, as many here say a330 is not safe... it is a long flight, over 9 hours and i am very scared if it will be alongside with the the whole flight smilies/sad.gif
r. , 15 Dec, 2011
Usefull ides and experience
Many many thanks to capt. Lim and all other who share in this.
I am new graduated CPL with MEIR holder waiting emplyment.

Thanks once agian for such a nice informative website and we learn from you and get beautiful ideas
Abu Ali , 17 Dec, 2011
Usefull ides and experience
Many many thanks to capt. Lim and all other who share in this.
I am new graduated CPL with MEIR holder waiting emplyment.

Thanks once agian for such a nice informative website and we learn from you and get beautiful ideas
Abu Ali , 17 Dec, 2011
engine noise
last week i flew from manchester to dubai on airbus a 330-200. about two hours into the flight,i noticed the left hand engine power was rising quite loudly, then falling. it did this maybe 3 or 4 times. can you tell me the reason for this as it made me very nervous.
greg , 22 Dec, 2011
a330 was a pleasure to fly with
I've flown with THY airbus A330-300 from Istanbul to Jakarta trough Singapore and vise versa.
I didn't encounter much turbulance on both trips ( well over 12 hours flight) and the plane wasn't loud aswell. It was a very comfortable and enjoyable flight without any problems.
beerza , 10 Jan, 2012
...
i'm also a nervous passanger, I recently fly from jakarta to bali with Garuda's A330, when it taxiing there were metallic noises coming from the landing gear everytime it hits a bump on the runway,
ludhi , 19 Jan, 2012
Beijing to SG
Well, there was once I flew from Beijing to Singapore (SG) which was suppose to depart at 8.30 am. However, there was a thunder storm raging outside. So we sat on the plane, delaying for 4 hours and we ate lunch at 10. We reached SG at 6.30 pm when suppose to reach at 3.30pm.
Akash , 21 Jan, 2012
Mr
Hi all, nice to see a long thread about 2 great planes. I have flown on both these planes regularly to africa. First I believe the A330 is a great plane. All airbus planes appear to have better humidity, and less cabin noise then the boeing ones. The KLM A330-200 's are very nice and comfortable, and as for turbulance, I think we are being deceived by science. The truth is any plane is uncomfortable during turbulance. The KQ 777-200ERs are nice and roomy. But,I still feel the A330 is better from a passenger point of view. Saying they are underpowered is total lies, they take of from hot and high places like NBO, and EBB with a full payload and fly non-stop to their hubs in Europe. Although, I obviously appreciate that the 777 is superior in hot and high conditons. However, both planes are not designed for the same purpose, they are different sizes and do not compete directly. And, I think the 767 is a very uncomfortbale plane to fly on, especially, the BA 767, they are old, noisy and most I have been on to Africa seem to be in poor repair (inside the cabin). I think it would be fairer to compare the 767 with the A330, as they are very similar -interms of marketing and purpose. When the A350 is flying this could be then compared to the 777. However, the 787 is looking much better than the A330. Both Beoing and Airbus make great planes with safely records which compare relatively equally. Competition is good for passengers, enjoy your flights!
Neil Clemenson , 27 Jan, 2012
A-330-300 very uncortable
I recently flew from Orlando to Manchester UK a trip we have made many times in a 747.
We found the A-330 to be the most uncomfortable aircraft we have ever been on.
Maybe Virgin Atlantic opted for the cheap seats on this plane, all I know is that 40 years of flying on many aircraft types my backside has never been so numb.
We won't fly one again.
Jon McCormack , 12 Mar, 2012
planes
im scard and exited at the same time
qamar , 21 May, 2012
Airbus
There was a statement earlier by Stoyan and agreed to by CF that was incorrect. An aircraft with an aspect ratio that is larger, i.e. 10 vs 7 will produce more lift than an aircraft with a smaller aspect ratio. What this means is that an A330 wing, which has an aspect ratio of 11, will need less airflow than an aircraft such as an MD-11, which has an aspect ratio of 9, to become airborne and remain airborne. When turbulence hits the aircraft with the higher ratio (A330) it will have a greater effect on the wing, and resultantly the passengers, than an aircraft with a lower aspect ratio. The more the lift, the more the disturbances are felt.
Capt Sean , 04 Jul, 2012
Turbulences on the A330 are fun!
I was recently on a MEA A330 from Paris to Beirut and strong lateral winds over Turkey had many devout passengers break into prayer. I have to say that we could feel the plane going sideways. On the flight monitoring channel, it was obvious that the pilot then significantly altered the plane's original course
Peter , 29 Oct, 2012
Airbus 330-200 emirates
Dear All,

I am a very nervous passenger, the phobia of flying it self makes me afraid to top this I have to fly A 330-200 every time my experience with the plane was not good you can feel the turbulence all the way, can't eat it's a very uncomfortable aircraft with very low safety record it's a very rough plane specially during turbulence miserable feeling can some one tell me how to cope with the situation
Adnan , 07 Nov, 2012
...
Maybe all you guys should check your facts, both aircraft have the same wing span, give or take a few cm's, therefor the A330 has better wing loading (lower MTOW) and if both planes flew through the same turbulence then the 777 might be worse off. For those of you who don't know, when Airbus launched the A340 the ETOPS laws only allowed 4 engine aircraft on long journeys over the sea. When the FAA changed the laws to suit Boeing and the 777, Airbus was caught on the wrong foot but have since caught up and could possibly overtake Boeing's 777 sales soon.
Balerit , 14 Dec, 2012
flying not safe?
Flying is the safest way of transport. You are more likely to get an accident while driving to and from the airport. The A330 is a very safe aircraft, I have flown it to Abu Dhabi to and from Dusseldorf with Etihad's A330-300.
The flight was very comfortable and the aircraft looks fresh and new. I'm getting more and more respect for the A330. However, I prefer the B767 (my favourite) or B777, just because Boeing is more 'for the pilots' and Airbus is more involved in computer technologies. Both the B777 and A330 are very comfortable in flight, I found the B777 a bit more spacious. As for turbulence, I have once flown with an A340, and I experienced some severe turbulence, but turbulence shouldn't put you down because it is not dangerous, rather uncomfortable. But please, go flying, look at the records. There were only 373 fatalities on 18 scheduled passenger flights worldwide. Considering that there are roughly 10 million flights per year in the U.S. alone, this is a remarkable feat. Hope this helps you, enjoy your flight everybody.
Aspiring Pilot , 02 Jan, 2013
even more nervous now ...
Reading these posts, actually made me even more nervous about my flight than I already was. I have avoided almost all flying for the past 6 years and in 3 days, I will embark on a long 14hr+ flight journey with 2 stop-overs in between. The longest part of the trip will be a 10hr flight from finland to japan with the A330-300 (Finnair). Considering the recent incidents with this aircraft and the fact that turbulence is felt more by passengers, I am getting increasingly more worried about the flights now. I know it is irrational, but cannot seem to get over it.
A. , 12 Apr, 2013
Captain A330
I Don´t know what you are talking about, of the A330 not been under power, !!! It is under power!!! We Fly out of Bogota 8355 feet altitud field to Barcelona With 250 Pax and the fuel for a 10 hours fly take off 12ºc oat and you are at the limit, you can take (CERO CARGO) when the rwy is wet you have to deplane passegers so you can be at the max take off weight, we use RR trent 77000 pounds belive me you make some pressure on your seat at the end of the runway but one´s you are airborn what helps a lot is the wingspan wich makes it a fantastic machine I flown the 67 before and as I fly the A330 I enjoy it more and more every Flight you are going to love it, specially the technology on the A330
Captain RR , 13 Jul, 2013
Wing design
I am not an engineer so this was explained to me on a plain technical language. Wing design on the plane is a compromise between lift and drag. On a takeoff and landing when the speed is low you need as big as possible wings to increase the lift (less lift higher takeoff and landing speed). When in the air plain needs as small as possible wings to reduce the drag and fly faster (all useful surface on low speed becomes a drag on high speed). So the compromise have to be made by reducing the size and angle of the wing. In the air a bigger wing has more drag (resistance) any extra sudden airflow will increase the bad flying experience. But turbulence is not a linear force only and doesn't always effect wings only so planes with smaller wings can be affected too.
Peter_B , 08 Dec, 2013
777
Hi I have flown 777 a few times with Singapore air
I commented to my friends I though it was the best plane I have flown on
(747 737, 767, 777 , A330 , liber 190, bae 186, dc9, dc10

To be honest I dont even notice turbulance or noise and most aircraft fly well
But having 13 bloody marys on the way back from Singapore puts my vote
with the 777

Saying that I have a trip to japan flying business class Singapore A380 (thankz dad)

Thiz might be the best plane yet




maximus , 25 Mar, 2014

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