This is hardly news, we've heard blurbs about it for awhile, still no official announcement from EADS/Airbus. I wonder if it will be Leahy who will do the press conference; if so, he'd better have a ready answer to the reporters about the Airbus response to an airplane he wasn't "the least bit concerned about" a short time ago. If I was there, I'd present him with a baked crow on a platter along with a tip that it might be time to think about checking some of his comments at the door before he does such a press appearance. As to the 'new' A332, don't expect a radical change in structure or systems; that would cost far too much money better spent on a new design. They can give it a lighter wing and use GLARE for fuselage panels, more composites in the tail and such but the internal structure will be left alone. Forget 'bleedless' engines, that requires a switch to more electric systems that would cost too much AND
lose commonality with other A330s. Bleed-air variants of 7E7 engine, like Boeing plans for the 747 Advanced seem likely, in fact the entire approach for this A332 derivative could well mirror that for the 747 Adv. It will still, however, be significantly heavier than the 7E7-9, so matching that airplane exactly in fuel efficiency is highly unlikely; coming within a few percentage points is probably the BEST they can hope for. If this 'A330-200E' (E for efficient, natch) is available sooner than the 7E7-9, they'll snag some customers who can't wait for the Boeing, as well as prolonging the A332 production run. But make no mistake, it will still be a half-hearted response and merely a stopgap until Airbus can aquire new capital to develop something truly competitive. Leahy and Forgeard boast about how newer Airbus designs like the A380 and A332 have made older Boeing designs like the 747 and 767 obsolete but now they say a tweaking of a heavier mature design is every bit as good as an all-new one bristling with innovative technology and lighter construction. HELLO? Consistency is obviously not part of the sales lexicon at Airbus, not to say, however, that Boeing is much better in that regard, either. But lately, in particular, Leahy seems to be suffering from a bit of runaway mouth and if I were Forgeard, I have him turn it down just a wick, out of some concern for long-term credibility.