The government of Uganda through Minister of Works and Transport, Monica Azuba Ntege has come out to defend government plan to procure Airbus A330-800 Neo after media report early last week report that the series Uganda has opted for is unwanted type.
Tunwanted Airbus 300 neo
The minister said the A330 family of aircraft has the largest customer base in its class with 105 customers worldwide compared with only 41 customers for its direct competitor the B787
On cancellation order by other airline operator, the minister said Hawaiian Airline which cancelled the order due to political factor but not inefficiency of the airbus
“Misrepresentation of the order cancellation by Hawaiian Airline as an example: There are many reasons why an airline may cancel an aircraft order and Hawaiian has not disclosed its reasons. However what is clear is that Hawaiian Airlines had performed an aircraft evaluation, similar to what Uganda Airlines has done, and had initially also selected the A330-800neo for the same good reasons which include, its range payload advantage, its fuel efficient new engine, revamped cabin and other enhancements in comparison with other aircraft types including the B787 which they have now reverted to. This example reinforces the advantage of the A330 neo. The change of order by the Airline was mainly on Political grounds according to our sources.” Azuba said
The minister added that the airbus current have more than 1700 orders making it the most preferred carrier at the moment
“Lack of understanding of the aircraft “family concept”. Aircrafts are manufactured on a “family basis concept (Airbus, Boeing, etc with similar commonality in terms of fuselage, technology and operational features. The A330 neo therefore is essentially the same aircraft as the previous version namely the A330 ceo (common engine option which was the A330-200 and the A330-300) for which Airbus has more than 1,700 orders. The new engine option (neo) brings additional operating efficiencies to this aircraft family and uses a better more technologically advanced engine and that is why it is called the “neo”. The A330-800 is therefore not a new aircraft but an enhancement of the existing variant.” She continued
She said the news reporters who carried out the stories did not make adequate research before publishing the story,
“Similarly the airbus 330 800 neo is not “in development” as alleged in the article: this is a misunderstanding of family concept. The A330neo (A330-900 variant) is already delivered to other customers such as TAP Portugal and is flying today. This is the bigger version of the neo series and has the same new engines and improved technologies as the 800 version selected by Uganda Airlines. The A330-800 variant will have a shorter fuselage allowing it to fly longer and further than the current 900 version. This range payload performance is what is required for Uganda Airlines to operate non-stop flights on long routes to China and the Far East. It is important therefore to understand that the A330-800neo is not an aircraft being designed from scratch but is already within the family as the A330-200 version.” She continued.
The minister added, the A330 has a large operator base with 99% spares commonality across the fleets making it easy to maintain: a key component in aircraft selection is the availability of spares and support arrangements for the aircraft across the intended network. The 99% commonality across the A330 family (from the A330-200/300 up to the A330-800/900) in terms of spares and components lowers the potential cost of maintenance for this aircraft compered to others. This enables maintenance services to be shared across airlines with spares being available in many places worldwide and reduces inventory levels and operating costs for the airline.
In conclusion, the A330 was found to be the best entry level wide body aircraft in its class: in the past 5 years, 2014-2018, a total of 30 airlines started long haul flights for the first time with new technology aircraft around the world. Out of these 26 airlines chose the A330 as their start up aircraft while only 4 airlines chose the competitor Boeing 787 as their first wide-body. This is an 87% confidence verdict in favour of the A330 for long-haul operation start-up, compared to the 787 on account of the A330 good performance and lower financial cost.