Rational is the driving force behind the A330 NEO non innovation. Airbus is taking what its sub-contractors come up with for: engineering design and Airbus' aversion to risk. By buying newly advanced engines and sticking it on the A330 NEO with a vast array of Airbus improvements just installed on the A350 family of Aircraft, they are attempting a 777X type move for its A330 line, sans folding wings, laminar flow technology and a plethora of 787 type innovations. The deception is in the Airbus fuselage, or in this case the Subtrefuselage body of Airbus work.
If you can buy an airplane that can go the distance, but doesn't have to everyday, that statement becomes more formidable, than buying an all metal aircraft limited to mid- range Atlantic market or the Asia only routing. Its an obvious decision , starting at the end of the Airbus' nose in Paris. Draw the 5,000 mile circle from the Eiffel Tower. You have a New Engine Option (NEO)
What if opportunity in growth arises when you own a similarly fuel performing A330 fuselage with the 787-8 ,only with limited to mid-range. That airline bought cheaper than the 787, but they got what they paid for, while an opportunity passes that equipment by. You may know it as an aircraft that thought it could, but can't. This definition is better stated by 787 flexibility in the market place as the A330 will become a fixed regional asset. Customers will notice that maybe a short route by the A330 NEO can compete on fuel burn with the 787's short routes in a limited arena. However, the market changes daily, seasonally and yearly. The A330 Neo will become a routing wall flower when change occurs. Airlines will have to go and buy a second airline type to fill the NEO gap limits, costing that airline hundreds of millions more than what it intended because of its bargain basement buy of the A330 NEO. Hence, "you get what you pay for". Once again you can fly the 787 on Mid routes equally with an A330 NEO, but the NEO gets left behind when a competing 787 switches towards an opportunity for a longer gigs during "the season". The 787 is a better value on just this one point. There are many other points made concerning the 787. Wait until you see the numbers on the 787-9 and 777-10. More proprietary technological improvements will be added, that Airbus can't or won't touch. The A330 NEO becomes an airshow one hit wonder. The 787 has a better long playing and short route record. ANA uses the 787-8 on regional routes as well as to Frankfurt Germany or the US. They claim a 20-21 % fuel burn improvement. The A330 NEO compares itself with its own A330 and not the 787 family, by saying it will be a 14% improvement over the older A330. Its all relative.
Boeing is gradually pulling away from Airbus' strategy because of its fractured family of aircraft falling short. Boeing made the A330 Blink as mentioned before in a prior blog. In a blink the 787 gets away cleanly as seen at Farnborough. The A330 NEO Subtrefuselage made over 105 unit sales at the event, much to the pleasure of its Airbus Board member thinking. The short game is a niche market where the A330 NEO exactly belongs. The short with long game now belongs to Boeing, as its customers will soon experience when all its family of aircraft will be in full bloom by 2020. The best thing about the A330 NEO is its cheaper and you can now buy more fuel for its operation.