I think I pretty much know the story of how the 330 got it's way to QF
In early 2000 QF
were on the verge of signing with Boeing/GE for 18+12 772ER/LR with an announcement of 772LR launch customer status at Farnborough 2000. The original 300 seat RFP from QF
to the manufacturers was for a long range aircraft(772ER/LR v 343/345/6). There is no doubt in my mind that the 777 was the technically preferred type at QF
(and still is in many people's mind).
Around May 2000 SQ
ordered the 380 and this changed the whole fleet planning philosophy at QF
and this is where Leahy got very creative and clever. QF
needed and wanted the 380 and were convinced they needed a 2nd Airbus type for training and career pathway purposes(promotion/demotion). The 320/738 decision had not been made at this stage and was only made when AN
failed in 2001 and AA
738s became available at very favourable terms. So, Airbus "pincered "the 777 from below with the 330 and from above with the 380.
The 380 basically meant QF
went with the hub and spoke system and rejected the opening up of new city pairs route system. Of course, Airbus had to come up with a strategy of how the 330 could beat the 777. There was only one way. That being, QF
buying paper reduced weight 332s initially and using them on trunk domestic routes. No doubt the lighter 332s would perform this role better than the 777. Airbus also offered the A330/380 combination at a very generous discount as a QF
order was vital for the manufacturer.
So, the main reason for buying the 332s(according to CEO Dixon) was for the CityFlyer trunk domestic routes. We all know what an abject failure they have proved here and QF
technically knows that it prefers the 777 on routes above 2500nm.
IMO they made a big mistake here and probably bought the wrong aircraft for the wrong reasons. If they wanted 2 Airbus types, then they should have ordered the 32X family as a 733/4 replacement.
No doubt however, that the 380 was a good purchase and bought for all the right reasons, and will serve the airline really well.
Personally, I don't think the 330 future at QF
is that bright and I still think that it is reasonably probable that the airline will order 7E7/777 or both at some stage in the next 2-3 years and that they will keep enough of a 330 subfleet to operate them as a viable niche.
What is very much in doubt at QF
is the 330 options(they are believed to have 26 options/purchase rights). I wouldn't be surprised at all to see no more than the 13 firmly ordered 330s operate for QF