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Air 2000 And The A330

Sat Jan 04, 2003 3:32 am

I recently purchased a book, which gives details of worldwide airlines. While browsing through it I came across Air 2000 an airline that I am quite familiar with. (I travelled on a 767-300 in August) On reading it I was rather interested to hear that Air 2000 were supposedly an A330 operator. It says,
“From Spring 2000 the Airbus A330 has also been added to the fleet”
It also showed that Air 2000 has 2 of these aircraft in the fleet.
I did not know this so I searched through the database to see if there were any pictures, however, subsequently, there were not (as I had thought)

My question to you is has Air 2000 ever operated the A330 or had any on order? Is this just an error in the book or is it correct? I was always lead to believe the largest aircraft in their fleet was the 767-300ER?

The A330 is a popular aircraft for the charters so I am wondering if there is any truth in what I read?

Any help and information much appreciated.
Thanks, Adrian.
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RE: Air 2000 And The A330

Sat Jan 04, 2003 4:21 am

The story behind Air 2000 and the A330 as it was explained to me in 1999 by an Air 2000 pilot;
When Air 2000 took over Leisure International their fleets seemed a pretty good match. Air 2000 having A320s, B757s plus B767s on order - Leisure had A320s, A321s, B767 and A330s on order. This would give a combined fleet very similar to Airtours (MyTravel) and Monarch, after the merger Air 2000 launched a major fleet evaluation. The first thing they did was to pospone the order for 2 PW powered A330-200s and extend the leases of the 2 B767-300s they were due to replace, which really took people by surprise given how it's closest competitors Airtours and Monarch couldn't wait to get theirs. Why did this happen?

For a start they had the "wrong" engines, the PW engines would be more difficult to support in the UK. Everyone else (now BM) included in the UK has RR powered A330s.

Air 2000 thought the A330 was too much of a step up in size, you'll always be able to fill it in a good year, but when there's a downturn it will hurt to fly something that big around half empty, or discount deeply to fill the aircraft. Air 2000 thinks like that because it was one of the few UK charters that survived the reccession of the early 1990s, and they've always been very careful about big decisions. Also, it's difficult to fill an A330 out of any airport other than Manchester or Gatwick, the 767-300 fits both roles better seating only 312 people as opposed to around 360 - nobody makes money flying empty seats around the sky, Air 2000's average load factor is 92%! (This has subsequentlty proved to be a benefit in the post September 11th downturn for both Air 2000 and Britannia)

Galley space is poor on the A330 since charters only install the minimum forward and aft galleys, any more invloves taking seats out!!! The galley space is the same as on an A310, despite having an extra 150 passengers. The galleys on the 767 are bigger and make it easier for the crews, cabin crews find galleys on the A330 too small for the number of passengers.

One of the major ways holiday airlines in the UK make their Atlantic flights profitable is to carry cargo. Cargo holds on their long-haul flights are usually packed full of cargo, generating a lot of money for them. It turns out that the A330 would carry less cargo than the 767 on long-haul flights. Although the A330 has a bigger hold, there are the bags of an extra 50 passengers to go in there and once all the baggage is loaded there are less container positions for freight. The problem is made worse by the downstairs toilets (as installed on Airtours' A330s), which take up a lot of room in the rear hold. Also, in cruise the A330 is more efficient with it's CoG towards the rear limit, and you can't get the weight back there because of the toilets!

On a typical Atlantic crossing, the 767 will burn 40-50 Tonnes of fuel, the A330-200 will use 5-10 Tonnes more fuel and carry an extra 50 passengers, but not a higher total traffic load due to carrying less cargo. So on paper although the A330 is more efficient, it burns more fuel for carrying the same traffic load, plus it's heavier, meaning higher ATC and landing charges.

Out of some runways according to a Monarch pilot, the A330 is payload restricted because of it's size, while the 767 isn't - allowing it to fly further. The A330-200 has a greater range, but at many holiday destinations in places such as the Caribbean there isn't enough runway to get the aircraft into the air with enough fuel to utilise that range!

So for an aircraft that claims to be so much more advanced than the 767 Air 2000 decided the benefits were not there to justify the expense of operating these aircraft.

Air 2000 will probably operate the A330-200 in the future, but not for a few more years.


I posted that 2 years ago when the decision was first made
I've just updated it slightly...

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