It looks like Garuda Indonesia is about to pick up four Airbus A330-800neos, which will be an interesting addition to the Indonesian airline’s fleet.
Order Garuda of Indonesia’s A330-800neo
As noted by Airways Magazine, the latest report on orders and deliveries from Airbus reveals this Garuda Indonesia has ordered four A330-800neos. The airline has already ordered 12 A330-900neos, so the airline will have a total of 16 A330neos.
Garuda Indonesia already flies the A330-900neo
A few years ago Garuda Indonesia signed a letter of intent for A330-800neos, but strangely we didn’t hear anything else from the airline about it. Airbus listed that four A330-800neos had been ordered by an “undisclosed customer”, which only caused confusion.
It appears that the four A330-800neos destined for the undisclosed customer were actually destined for Garuda Indonesia.
Why the A330-800neo is so rare
The A330neo is the newest aircraft in the A330 product line. It builds on the capabilities of the popular A330 (including the A330-200 and A330-300) and uses technology developed for the A350.
There are two variants of the A330neo, but they are very different in popularity among airline customers:
- Only 15 A330-800neos were ordered
- In the meantime, 316 A330-900neos have been ordered
Which airlines have ordered the A330-800neo?
Uganda Airlines was one of the first to receive the A330-800neo
Why were over 95% of A330neo orders placed for the A330-900neo while the A330-800neo saw so little interest? It is worth considering the two main differences between the aircraft:
- The A330-800neo has a capacity of 257 while the A330-900neo has a capacity of 287
- The A330-800neo has a range of 7,506 nm, while the A330-900neo has a range of 6,550 nm
In other words, the A330-900neo can accommodate an additional 30 passengers while the A330-800neo can fly an additional 1,000 nautical miles. Which aircraft makes more sense depends on which of these key figures is more important for airlines.
Personally, I understand why the A330-900neo was so much more popular than the A330-800neo:
- The operating costs of the A330-900neo are slightly higher than those of the A330-800neo; While the larger aircraft may have too much capacity for some markets, even selling seats with a large low-cost airline would likely come out on top
- The range of 6,500 nautical miles is already of great importance. Unless airlines try to use these aircraft for ultra long haul flights, there are few situations where the extra range of the A330-800neo is needed
- For ultra long haul flights, airlines have generally opted for either the 787 or the A350, both of which still offer long range and relatively low capacity (at least when compared to previous generation aircraft).
Why the A330-800neo makes sense for Garuda Indonesia
Unlike other airlines, I can actually see how the A330-800neo can make sense for Garuda Indonesia given Indonesia’s geographic location. Here is a map showing everything that is within range of the A330-800neo from Bali (only the darkly shaded area is out of range):
Here is a map showing everything in range of the A330-800neo from Jakarta:
Now it is worth noting that the above map is based on a range of 7,500 nm, which is ultimately not entirely realistic. This is the aircraft’s maximum published range but does not take into account headwinds, fuel reserves required, possible configurations, etc. In reality, the range will likely be slightly less.
What does this open up for Garuda Indonesia?
- Amsterdam or London to Bali should be within range for the A330-800neo while it would not be for the A330-900neo
- It has long been said that Garuda Indonesia wants to fly non-stop from Bali to the USA. I would think this is still a big step for the A330-800neo as it is right on the threshold of range, but who knows
So yeah, I can see how Garuda Indonesia decided this plane made sense as the extra range opens up a lot more destinations. On the other hand, the issue here is not whether Garuda Indonesia should operate one of these routes first as the airline is struggling with profitability.
It is now official that Garuda Indonesia has ordered four A330-800neos. The airline is one of only four airlines to have ordered this variant of the A330neo, and has ordered the second most popular of these aircraft.
I’m excited to see what Garuda Indonesia is doing with the A330-800neos. They could easily be used for non-stop flights from Bali to Europe, while I don’t think these planes could fly non-stop to the US.
Given Garuda Indonesia’s lack of A350 or 787 orders, this will likely be the airline’s longest-range aircraft once the current 777s are retired.
What do you think of Garuda Indonesia’s A330-800neo order?