failed to order the 777 was a big disappointment for Boeing, as QF
was on the design team for the 777 and it was always assumed that QF
would buy the type. For a few years, QF
was in a rather passive mood regarding aircraft purchases, they picked up a few 2nd hand 744s and some additonal new build 744s (the ERs), but nothing really agressive and the 777 order never came. Later, when QF
was looking at the A380, QF
also placed an order for the A332 and A333 - the reasoning was that the A330s would give QF
experience with an Airbus FBW type (it will, the only Airbus type previoiusly operated by QF
was the A300B4 (not-FBW) inherited from the original Australian Airlines and by most accounts, it was not a good experience for QF
) and the A330s were well suited for both the domestic Australian and regional markets (see below).........the untold reason is that Airbus gave QF
a hell of a good deal on the A330s since the order was combined with the A380 purchase.
Was the A330 a good choice for QF
? Even if the A330s were acquired at bargain prices, its only a good bargain if you got the right product. My opinion is that QF
make a mistake here (and its just my personal opinion). I think that the A330 is simply too much aircraft (in either variant) for the domestic Australian market.....its remarkable that QF
is complaining that turn around times for the A330 are too long, well of course they are, the A330 is a big plane not really designed for hourly shuttles between Sydney and Melbourne. QF
also plans to operate the type on routes from Australia to points in Asia.....and on these routes I think that the opposite will be true, the A330 will be too small in many cases - on some routes the A333 will be used to replace 747s, and most flights in the region already operate with high loads and lots of cargo.
I think that QF
made a bold and good choice with the A380 - but I think that QF
would have been far happier with the 772 for regional routes and the 753 or 764 for intra-Australian and trans-tasman routes. The A330 is a great airliner, I think that the A330-200 is the "best of the bunch" in the original A330/340 family, but its just not the right type here.