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Airbus A330The Airbus A330 is a wide-body twin-engine jet airliner made by Airbus, a division of EADS.


Versions of the A330 have a range of 7,400 to 13,430 kilometres (4,000 to 7,250 nmi) and can accommodate up to 335 passengers in a two-class layout or carry 70 tonnes (150,000 lb) of cargo.

The origin of the A330 dates to the 1970s as one of several conceived derivatives of Airbus's first airliner, the A300. The A330 was developed in parallel with the A340, which shared many common airframe components but differed in number of engines. Both airliners incorporated fly-by-wire flight control technology, first introduced on an Airbus aircraft with the A320, as well as the A320's six-display glass cockpit. In June 1987, after receiving orders from various customers, Airbus launched the A330 and A340. The A330 was Airbus's first airliner offered with the choice of three engines: General Electric CF6, Pratt & Whitney PW4000, and Rolls-Royce Trent 700.

The A330-300, the first variant, took its maiden flight in November 1992 and entered passenger service with Air Inter in January 1994. Responding to dwindling sales, Airbus followed up with the slightly shorter A330-200 variant in 1998, which has proved more popular. Subsequently developed A330 variants include a dedicated freighter, the A330-200F, and a military tanker, the A330 MRTT. The A330 MRTT formed the basis of the proposed KC-45, entered into the U.S. Air Force's KC-X competition in conjunction with Northrop Grumman, where after an initial win, on appeal lost to Boeing's tanker.

Since its launch, the A330 has allowed Airbus to expand market share in wide-body airliners. Airlines have selected the A330 as a replacement for less economical trijets and versus rival twinjets. Boeing has offered variants of the 767 and 777 as competitors, along with the 787, which entered service in late 2011. Airbus's A350 will also share this wide-body airliner market. As of September 2011, the A330's order book stood at 1,174, of which 812 had been delivered. The largest operator is Cathay Pacific with aircraft of both A330-200 and -300 models. The A330 is expected to continue selling until at least 2015.

As of July 2011, there are 766 examples of all A330 variants in airline service, including 399 A330-200s, 6 -200Fs, and 361 -300s. Airline operators are Cathay Pacific (32), Delta Air Lines (31), Qatar Airways (29), Emirates (27), Air China (26), Etihad Airways (23), Korean Air (21), China Airlines (20), China Southern Airlines (20), TAM Linhas Aereas (20), Singapore Airlines (19), Thai Airways International (19), Malaysia Airlines (16), Air France (15), Lufthansa (15), and others with fewer of the type as of July 2011. In 2007, Northwest Airlines took delivery of its 32nd A330, and became the type's largest customer at the time; the carrier has since merged with Delta Air Lines. The largest single owner of A330s in 2011 is Cathay Pacific, which together with its subsidiary Dragonair has 46 aircraft in service with 21 on order as of April 2011.

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