If you’ve spent any time plane spotting at Vancouver International Airport you’ve most likely seen an Airbus 330, a mainstay for many of the airlines regularly taking off and landing at YVR. Look for a new A330-200 tail out on the runways, when Sichuan Airlines begins service three times a week from YVR later this year.
The A330 was developed by Airbus in the late 1980s to compete with Boeing’s line of 767 aircraft. The company developed the A330 and A340 together, in part, to maximize productivity and minimize costs. The pair was the first commercial aircraft to be designed entirely by computer aided design (CAD) software. While the A330 and A340 share the same fuselage, landing gear, tail assembly, flight deck and basic wing, the significant difference is that the A330 is equipped with two engines and the A340 has four. Both aircraft are assembled on the same assembly line in Toulouse, France.
Since it was first launched in the early 1990s, a shortened, longer range version of the A330-300 was developed. The A330-200, like the one Sichuan Airlines will operate, features enlarged horizontal and vertical tail surfaces and the addition of a centre fuel tank, which increases the A330-200's fuel capacity and results in the longer range.
Introduction: January 17, 1994
Cockpit Crew: Two
Range: 13,400 km
Engine: 2 x CF6-80E1 or PW4000 or RR Trent 700
Height: 17.4 m
Length: 58.8 m
Wingspan: 60.3 m
Wing area: 361.6 m2
Cargo Capacity: 136 m3
Maximum Take-off Weight: 233,000 kg
Did You Know? A rest area for cabin crew, with up to seven bunks, is installed in the aircraft’s lower-deck aft cargo hold and accessed by a stair from the main cabin – thereby eliminating any impact on passenger seating.
YVR Connection: Sichuan Airlines will operate an A330-200 three times a week between Chengdu, Shenyang and Vancouver later this year. (Vancouver Airport Authority signed a letter of intent with Sichuan Airlines in November, 2011. Prior to service commencement, Sichuan Airlines requires approval from Transport Canada.)