A330 rate cut

Airbus has rolled out the first A330-900neo for another operator, WOW Air, but a declining overall backlog for the aircraft means the company is to lower output of its best-selling widebody.
J B Accariez/Airbus

Airbus is to cut production rates of the A330 again, reflecting a diminishing orders backlog for the twin-jet. In its Q1 results, the European manufacturer announced it plans to produce “around 50” examples of the aircraft in 2019, or around four to five aircraft per month.

Airbus increased A330 output from eight to ten aircraft a month back in 2013, the highest monthly production rate ever seen for a widebody aircraft, after receiving a flurry of orders early this decade.

The ten per month rate was sustained for a couple of years, but reduced to nine per month in Q4 2015, dropping further to seven per month in 2017 and then six per month this year.

The rate cut takes place as Airbus undergoes a transition in A330 production in Toulouse, with the company set to deliver the A330- 900neo (new engine option) to TAP Portugal. The initial A330-900neo for WOW Air, F-WWKS (msn 1870), to become TF-BIG, has also recently rolled out.

The rate cut reflects a recent dearth in new business for both the A330neo variants and the legacy A330-200 and A330-300 models offered under the A330ceo (classic engine option) banner. At the time of writing in May, Airbus has only received one order for an A330 in 2018, placed in April by Scandinavian Airlines for a single A330-300.

The A330-800neo orderbook is now empty after Hawaiian Airlines’ recent decision to cancel its order for six and order Boeing 787-9s instead. By early May, Airbus had a backlog of 82 A330ceos to deliver along with the 212 orders for the A330neo. Mark Broadbent