Sokes
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Why is the A330 still 8 abreast?

Sat Mar 09, 2019 5:12 pm

First post, so hello everybody.
The first twin jet was A300. It's first flight was 1972 with around 220 kN engines. Wiki mentions that Airbus assumed people would prefer wide-body comfort over
frequency.
B767 had first flight in 1981. Surprising the engines didn't really become stronger. I assume Boeing chose 7 abreast to increase range versus A300.
First ETOPS 90 by 1995.
A330 had first flight in 1992. Engines somewhere around 311 kN.
B777 had first flight 1994. Engines around 350 kN, but already one year later 410 kN.
( I love Wikipedia for quick reference: anybody more knowledgeable is welcome to post more accurate first flight values for engine and range.)

I assume that these planes were designed for the available engine power at the time.
My impression is that the A330 is a people AND freight mover for medium range/ short long range flights. If yes, isn't it an economic necessity to trade ever
increasing range for more seats, like the 777X does? Is my assumption correct?
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Stitch
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Re: Why is the A330 still 8 abreast?

Sun Mar 10, 2019 2:34 am

The main reason the A330 is still eight-abreast is to go nine-abreast makes the seats and aisles are around 16.5" wide and that is considered a no-go for most non-charter operators, especially for longer missions.
 
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CrimsonNL
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Re: Why is the A330 still 8 abreast?

Sun Mar 10, 2019 1:56 pm

9 abreast is also available on the 330. I know Cebu Pacific and Air Asia X have 9 abreast on theirs.
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Wacker1000
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Re: Why is the A330 still 8 abreast?

Sun Mar 10, 2019 2:40 pm

Sokes wrote:
If yes, isn't it an economic necessity to trade ever
increasing range for more seats, like the 777X does? Is my assumption correct?


Then after someone actually makes an A330 9 across, everyone on here will whine and cry about how their CEO doesn't care about the customer and only profits. ;)
 
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zeke
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Re: Why is the A330 still 8 abreast?

Sun Mar 10, 2019 2:51 pm

Wacker1000 wrote:

Then after someone actually makes an A330 9 across, everyone on here will whine and cry about how their CEO doesn't care about the customer and only profits. ;)


There is already a number of operators with 9 across. Cebu Pacific I think have 436 seats on their A330s.

In reality I think most operators are happy with what the A330 will earn 8 across with cargo under the floor.
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tealnz
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Re: Why is the A330 still 8 abreast?

Sun Mar 10, 2019 3:18 pm

Fuselage cross-section was taken from the A300. Efficient wide-body. Smallest cross-section able to take LD3s side by side. Bonus is greater passenger appeal of 2-4-2 vs 3-3-3.
 
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JerseyFlyer
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Re: Why is the A330 still 8 abreast?

Mon Mar 11, 2019 1:24 pm

Some "Western" airlines also have 9-abreast: Air Transat, Air Caraibes come to mind.
 
hitower3
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Re: Why is the A330 still 8 abreast?

Mon Mar 11, 2019 1:54 pm

Interesting side note: I have early documents from 1972 about the then-new A300 project. The cabin mock-up included therein shows both 2-4-2 and 3-3-3 layouts for the economy cabin.
So, squeezing more people in the original Airbus widebody design is a fairly old concept...

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LaunchDetected
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Re: Why is the A330 still 8 abreast?

Mon Mar 11, 2019 8:45 pm

Air Asia X A330-900 will also be 9-abreast with 440 seats, the exit limit.

An absolute medium-range CASM killer sardine can. Poor F/A
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Boair
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Re: Why is the A330 still 8 abreast?

Mon Mar 11, 2019 9:46 pm

Many airlines operate 9 abreast A330: Corsair, XL Airways, Air Caraibe, Air Transat, French Bee just to name a few
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stephanwintner
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Re: Why is the A330 still 8 abreast?

Mon Mar 11, 2019 9:59 pm

Sokes wrote:
I assume that these planes were designed for the available engine power at the time.?


Sokes wrote:
isn't it an economic necessity to trade ever increasing range for more seats, like the 777X does? Is my assumption correct?


I think you misunderstand how planes are designed. The airframer surveys the market, and determines a range and payload that will appeal. Then, aiming at that niche, they work with engine makers to determine if and how to meet that market point efficiently. The market is largely interested in frequency, with airplanes sized to suit the city pairs connected in terms of passenger count and range - it's not just a continual effort to "make it bigger", or as you put it, to trade range and seats. Yes, more seats on a given route tends to lower cost - but only if they can be filled. If they are empty, then they are just adding weight (and hence fuel costs).

Yes, the 747 was based, in part, on the availability of higher thrust engines than previous generations. But, more recently, the 777X and A350 use less rated thrust than the 777-300, and the 737Max and A320Neo use engine thrusts quite close to the engines they've been using for decades. All 4 of those aircraft received new engines, which could have been made a bit bigger, allowing longer range, and higher capacities, but weren't. (Yes, the 737Max and A320Neo were also constrained by their existing wing, landing gear, and fuselage. But the 777X and A350 weren't.)

Yes, some airlines can make use of very long range (E.g. Air New Zealand) but many cannot. The trick is striking a good balance that suits many airlines. The 777-200 and -300 did a very good job - relatively few airlines bought the 747 or A380 after the 777 came out. And, yes, that was enabled, in part, by the very large engines that it used. But the 777X isn't going for yet more thrust - although that would certainly be achievable.

Bombardier aimed for a small, efficient aircraft a bit smaller than the 737 and A320. They've struggled - but met with modest success too. Clearly, Delta, Swiss, and Air Baltic could have invested that capital in 737s instead, but didn't...
 
Sokes
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Re: Why is the A330 still 8 abreast?

Wed Mar 13, 2019 7:34 am

stephanwintner wrote:
The airframer surveys the market, and determines a range and payload that will appeal.


A380 comes to mind.
Somebody on a.net once said "the plane makes the market". I believe that's true to a considerable extent.
The future may be different. Incremental advancements become smaller, planes become more and more capable.
I expect the relative importance of market surveys will increase.
That's not to say that airframers didn't do surveys. I just mean to say that I doubt the value of these surveys for the past, but not for the future.
Was the success of the B777-300ER caused by engines better than expected or by smart surveys?

First commercial flight of the B777-300ER was 2004. I agree that after the B777-300ER engines were sized for the plane.
As opposed to the planes being sized for the engines. For the time before 2004 I want to delay judgement.
The A330 shares the wing with A340. Was the wing mostly designed for the four or the two engine variant?
I should have mentioned that the statements in my earlier post are limited to long range.

As I'm new to this forum: Did I go too far off topic?
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stephanwintner
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Re: Why is the A330 still 8 abreast?

Wed Mar 13, 2019 7:32 pm

Sokes wrote:
stephanwintner wrote:
The airframer surveys the market, and determines a range and payload that will appeal.


A380 comes to mind.
Somebody on a.net once said "the plane makes the market". I believe that's true to a considerable extent.


I agree, A380 comes to mind. It certainly failed to make much of a market....as did the Concorde, A340, DC10, and L1011. In all those cases, another aircraft offered a somewhat different range, capacity, and speed, which ended up selling much better...

But yes, I think you are correct, the DC10, L1011, and 747 were all designed around the new engines - either 3 or 4 of them, all around the same thrust. And 777 was a step change in engine thrust.

I think the success of the 777 was the right combination of payload and operating costs. 2 engines, rather than 3 or 4, was part of that. But it's also a combination of range, payload and OpEx that covers many city pairs once served by the 747, and has limited A380 and 748-8 sales...

I didn't mean that the airframer sends surveys to airlines, though they do. I meant that the airframers study the market, and ask "what if". Sometimes they have a success, other times they misjudge. Boeing once thought the 747 would end up mostly being a freighter...
 
Max Q
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Re: Why is the A330 still 8 abreast?

Thu Mar 14, 2019 2:22 am

Does anyone still operate 767’s with eight across seating ?


That seems worse than a nine across A330
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Stitch
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Re: Why is the A330 still 8 abreast?

Thu Mar 14, 2019 2:32 am

Max Q wrote:
Does anyone still operate 767’s with eight across seating?


Probably some charter airlines.


Max Q wrote:
That seems worse than a nine across A330


Should be pretty close. I believe it is also ~16.5" seats and aisles.
 
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flyingclrs727
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Re: Why is the A330 still 8 abreast?

Fri Mar 15, 2019 3:12 am

Stitch wrote:
The main reason the A330 is still eight-abreast is to go nine-abreast makes the seats and aisles are around 16.5" wide and that is considered a no-go for most non-charter operators, especially for longer missions.


Well if Boeing could take the 777 and reprofile the the interior to get more cabin space inside the existing 777 exterior dimensions, why couldn't Airbus have done the same? Perhaps they couldn't have gotten 18.0" seats, but they probably could have gotten wider seats than the 787 at 9 abreast. Adding an additional seat per row could have really improved the A330-9 CASM and helped it against the 787.
 
CowAnon
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Re: Why is the A330 still 8 abreast?

Fri Mar 15, 2019 8:30 pm

Stitch wrote:
The main reason the A330 is still eight-abreast is to go nine-abreast makes the seats and aisles are around 16.5" wide and that is considered a no-go for most non-charter operators, especially for longer missions.


From https://leehamnews.com/2018/11/06/airbu ... st-flight/:
Airbus is now getting more and more requests for A330neo nine-abreast economy layouts. It has therefore developed a cabin variant with nine 17 inch wide seats, featuring 17 inch wide aisles.

flyingclrs727 wrote:
Well if Boeing could take the 777 and reprofile the the interior to get more cabin space inside the existing 777 exterior dimensions, why couldn't Airbus have done the same? Perhaps they couldn't have gotten 18.0" seats, but they probably could have gotten wider seats than the 787 at 9 abreast. Adding an additional seat per row could have really improved the A330-9 CASM and helped it against the 787.

Someone who remembers the history may correct me, but I think that carving the A330 fuselage cabin was in the original plan for the A350.

Airbus could have also achieved broad acceptance for a 9-across configuration that way, but wider seats than a nine-abreast 787 is unlikely. The 787 has a 227" fuselage width enclosing a 216"-wide cabin (an 11-inch difference). The 777X upped the 777 cabin width from 231" to either 235" or 237" (depending on the source), against a 244"-wide fuselage (a difference of 7 to 9 inches between fuselage and cabin width). The A330 fuselage is only 222" wide, so reducing that by 7 to 9 inches results in a cabin width of 213" or 215", which is still slightly narrower than the 787's cabin.
 
Sokes
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Re: Why is the A330 still 8 abreast?

Sat Mar 16, 2019 4:41 am

Speaking of surveys again:
in the topic "From 737 "Jurassic" to 737 "Classic" before MCAS"
Austin787 says:
"If I remember correctly, Boeing was considering doing an all new narrowbody (797) as a response to A320NEO. But existing 737 airlines told Boeing they wanted an updated 737 sooner rather than a 797 later. So Boeing produced the 737MAX."
( viewtopic.php?f=5&t=1417927 )
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Sokes
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Re: Why is the A330 still 8 abreast?

Sat Mar 16, 2019 5:07 am

Sorry, I didn't read the topic "From 737 "Jurassic" to 737 "Classic" before MCAS" till the end before posting.
In the same topic Dutchy writes:
" If I remember correctly, Boeing thought a clean sheet design would not gain that much efficiency over a re-engined one, only 4% if I remember correctly. That was not as much as needed to warrant a 10bn investment and subsequently bigger pricetag to recoup the investment. "
I don't know what to make of both statements.
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max999
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Re: Why is the A330 still 8 abreast?

Sat Mar 16, 2019 10:09 am

I wouldn't be surprised if some existing A330 operators decide to create two separate economy cabins in an A330; downgrade regular economy to 3-3-3 and then rebrand 2-4-2 as economy plus. I wouldn't support the move, but I can see it happening. The guessing game is which airline will do it first.
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ELBOB
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Re: Why is the A330 still 8 abreast?

Sat Mar 16, 2019 12:48 pm

hitower3 wrote:
Interesting side note: I have early documents from 1972 about the then-new A300 project. The cabin mock-up included therein shows both 2-4-2 and 3-3-3 layouts for the economy cabin.
So, squeezing more people in the original Airbus widebody design is a fairly old concept...


The original fuselage design for the A300 was 6.4 metres in diameter for nine or ten abreast, to permit through-ticketing with the 747 without reseating. Sadly there was a bit of a market downturn and the partners panicked that they were 'oversizing' so shrank it down to 5.64 metres for the A300B.

Had they stuck with the original diameter, the 767 and 777 would probably not have emerged in the forms they did.
 
hitower3
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Re: Why is the A330 still 8 abreast?

Sat Mar 16, 2019 12:54 pm

ELBOB wrote:


The original fuselage design for the A300 was 6.4 metres in diameter for nine or ten abreast, to permit through-ticketing with the 747 without reseating. Sadly there was a bit of a market downturn and the partners panicked that they were 'oversizing' so shrank it down to 5.64 metres for the A300B.

Had they stuck with the original diameter, the 767 and 777 would probably not have emerged in the forms they did.


Well, I didn't know that, very interesting! I wonder how they would have resolved the engine issue with such a heavier 777-sized plane.
 
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Phosphorus
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Re: Why is the A330 still 8 abreast?

Sat Mar 16, 2019 9:05 pm

Max Q wrote:
Does anyone still operate 767’s with eight across seating ?

Azur Air Germany did. Azur Air Ukraine does.
Flew both. it's not convenient. Not bad, but not convenient. And I am fairly demanding for creature comforts.
But the whole plane is 8-abreast, so you cannot pay to upgrade.

Ukraine International still does fly their 767's in 8-abreast in economy. Fortunately, there is premium economy (and also business class) section available.
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Re: Why is the A330 still 8 abreast?

Mon Mar 18, 2019 6:04 pm

flyingclrs727 wrote:

Well if Boeing could take the 777 and reprofile the the interior to get more cabin space inside the existing 777 exterior dimensions, why couldn't Airbus have done the same? Perhaps they couldn't have gotten 18.0" seats, but they probably could have gotten wider seats than the 787 at 9 abreast. .

787 have not only more width, but more height too, so LD3s placed lower providing more room for cabin
 
tommy1808
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Re: Why is the A330 still 8 abreast?

Mon Mar 18, 2019 6:31 pm

Sokes wrote:
[
The A330 shares the wing with A340. Was the wing mostly designed for the four or the two engine variant?


Complete and utterly for the four engine variant.
Before the IAE superfan was canned that question would have been more difficult to answer, but once Aibus had to build their long haul jet with CFM56 engines they needed much more fuel and the wing to carry it, so the 227t at EIS (IIRC) A330 had a wing fit to lift 275t.
Of course in the long run it turned out to be a stroke of luck to have that bigger wing to give the A330 growth potential....
However, when the A340-2/300 was still build the A330 got the A340 wing, only after that line wound down Airbus removed the A340-only structural parts from the A330 wing.

Certainly of topic, but probably not worth a topic of it's own.

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Re: Why is the A330 still 8 abreast?

Mon Mar 18, 2019 10:39 pm

tommy1808 wrote:
Sokes wrote:
[
The A330 shares the wing with A340. Was the wing mostly designed for the four or the two engine variant?


Complete and utterly for the four engine variant.
Before the IAE superfan was canned that question would have been more difficult to answer, but once Aibus had to build their long haul jet with CFM56 engines they needed much more fuel and the wing to carry it, so the 227t at EIS (IIRC) A330 had a wing fit to lift 275t.
Of course in the long run it turned out to be a stroke of luck to have that bigger wing to give the A330 growth potential....
However, when the A340-2/300 was still build the A330 got the A340 wing, only after that line wound down Airbus removed the A340-only structural parts from the A330 wing.

Certainly of topic, but probably not worth a topic of it's own.

Best regrards
Thomas


On a related note, the A330 MRTT design benefited from the structure of the wing for four engines, as the wing refueling pods could be mounted in the location of the A340's outboard engines, plus use the plumbing.

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Re: Why is the A330 still 8 abreast?

Tue Mar 19, 2019 12:54 pm

After being in 747 Y, I thought the 330 with 8 across was much more comfortable. Not so 'neat' a plane, but 8 always seemed so much easier than 9 or 10. And a 767 at 7 was heaven.
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