Kuwait Airways Takes Delivery Of World’s First A330-800neo

Filed Under: Kuwait Airways

Kuwait Airways has just become the world’s first airline to take delivery of the A330-800neo.

Kuwait Airways’ A330-800neo

Kuwait Airways has today taken delivery of its first two Airbus A330-800neos. The airline has a total of eight of these planes on order, which are part of an investment by the airline to modernize its fleet.

Kuwait Airways A330-800neo

Prior to these new deliveries, Kuwait Airways has 15 Airbus aircraft in its fleet, including:

  • Seven A320s
  • Three A320neos
  • Five A330-200s

Kuwait Airways’ A330-800neos feature a total of 235 seats, including 32 fully flat business class seats and 203 economy class seats. Kuwait Airways installed Collins Aerospace Super Diamond seats in business class, which are the best business class seats the airline has ever installed on a plane.

The A330-800neo is extremely rare

For those of you not familiar with the A330neo, it’s the latest plane in the A330 product line. It builds on the features of the popular A330 (including the A330-200 and A330-300), while leveraging technology developed for the A350.

The world’s first A330-900neo entered service in late 2018, and now almost two years later the world’s first A330-800neo is entering service. However, these planes have seen vastly different demand from airlines:

  • Only 14 A330-800neos have been ordered
  • Meanwhile 318 A330-900neos have been ordered

What airlines ordered the A330-800neo?

Interestingly Kuwait Airways may have been talked into getting these planes. Hawaiian Airlines had placed an order for A330-800neos but ended up canceling it, and then it’s my understanding that Kuwait Airways took over the order. I imagine the airline got quite a deal on the planes.

Uganda Airlines A330-800neo

Why hasn’t the A330-800neo been popular?

Why have over 95% of A330neo orders been for the A330-900neo, with the A330-800neo having seen such little interest? It’s worth considering the two main differences between the planes:

  • The A330-800neo has a capacity of 257, while the A330-900neo has a capacity of 287
  • The A330-800neo has a range of 7,506nm, while the A330-900neo has a range of 6,550nm

In other words, the A330-900neo can seat an extra 30 passengers, while the A330-800neo can fly an additional 1,000nm. Which plane makes more sense depends on which of those metrics is more important for airlines.

Personally I get why the A330-900neo has been so much more popular than the A330-800neo:

  • The operating costs of the A330-900neo are marginally higher than the A330-800neo; admittedly the larger plane may offer too much capacity for some markets, but even selling seats at a great discount airlines would likely come out ahead
  • 6,500nm of range is already really significant, so unless airlines are trying to use these planes for ultra long haul flights, there are few situations where the A330-800neo’s additional range is needed
  • For ultra long haul flights airlines have generally gone with either the 787 or A350, both of which still offer long range and reasonably low capacity (at least compared to previous generation aircraft)

Delta is the first US airline to fly the A330-900neo

Bottom line

Kuwait Airways has become the world’s first airline to take delivery of the A330-800neo. Uganda Airlines will take delivery of its first A330-800neo in the coming weeks, and then we’ll see what happens from there.

Fewer than 5% of A330neo orders have been for the A330-800neo, while the A330-900neo has been popular.

If you’ve flown the A330neo, what did you think?

Comments
  1. I thought Kuwait announced a boycott of French products a few days ago in response to Emmanuela Micron Milfhunter Maricon cracking down on Islamic Terrorism.

  2. Not sure about their route planning when they placed the order, but the range difference between the two models out of KWI covers US west coast, most of Americas south of US and east coast of Australia. That would be a good enough reason to go longer range.

  3. Well, as an avgeek based out of KWI, i was able to capture the A330-800 landing into KWI. Such a beast but looked smaller than expected lol

  4. @Alan
    They are not banning Jews – the state of Kuwait is just not issuing (transit) visas to Israeli passport holders. And Kuwait Airways is just denying boarding to people who don’t fulfill the necessary requirements.
    Same with other Airlines in other places: If a Brazilian wants to fly from Sao Paulo to Tokyo via Houston he will need a US transit visa, otherwise United will deny him boarding.

    Jews travelling on their American or European passports are entirely fine.

  5. I was scheduled to fly on an A330-900neo from SEA-PVG in March, but that trip was cancelled due to COVID. šŸ™ Looked like it would have been nice!

  6. I thought Hawaiian Airlines wanted to order it but was pissed that so few had been sold so it made Airbus’ situation worse. Hawaiian turned its back on the A330-800neo. Hawaiian didn’t want to be the Emirates of the A330neo, the only airline operating besides a few funny airlines.

  7. @Max

    The boycott is not official policy, nor has the government mentioned anything about it. The boycott is called by the Union of Cooperative Societies in Kuwait and some MPs, probably to score some political points before the December 5 elections.

  8. @Derek Hawaiian had a bunch of orders for the 800 but yea they were bummed on the low sales. Airbus should have just gave them the 900 but I understand why they would still want them to sell the 800. Unfortunately Boeing came thru and swooped and sold them the 787 cuz the A330 with 2-4-2 is more conformable than cramped Dreamliner.

  9. @ Max and Alan,

    Kuwait is among the ME countries “planning” to open to Israel but not yet fully comfortable with their public opinion. Suffice it to say that, had they been at peace with Israel in the 1990’s, they would never have been invaded by Saddam Hussein’s Irak. The big bad guy in the region is now called Iran and the only regional power able to stand up to it is Israel.

    Saudi Arabia has understood it well, hence their small steps opening to Israeli overflights etc… Once this is out of the way and it will be, all ME countries will follow.

    Strangely (and it would be funny if it were not so sad), the nation which will encounter the most problems to join is Qatar, through no fault of theirs but because they have come to depend so much on Iran after the ridiculous Saudi / UAE dispute and embargo, a situation which everybody would like to get out of although nobody knows how. This too will eventually come.

  10. @burritomiles – oh how I loathe flying the 787, even in premium classes. Flew to Tahiti via New Zealand, both Air New Zealand and Air Tahiti Nui, all in premium economy and it was not nice. I mean, it’s a quiet enough plane, but for some reason is just not comfortable and everything feels cramped. Can’t stand the electronic window shades either, they’re just too weird. Worst flight ever was on a UA 787 from DIA – NRT, as I got re-routed due to problems using the kiosks checking in at LAS and thus missed my flight. Middle seat in economy between a guy that was sleeping in the Isle seat and a guy working on his laptop in the window seat. Never hated flying so much in my life.
    Thai actually has ok business class seats in their 787’s, roomier than in their 777 amazingly.

  11. The problem with Kuwait Airlines is not so much the airline itself, but the fact that you have to use the Kuwait Airport which is terrible when comparing it to the airports in Dubai, Doha and Muscat.

  12. @SullyofDoha – The main terminal in KWI was built in the 70s. The airport is a mess but it’s impressive when you realize that this airport has been maintained for around 50 years and even went through a terrible war. If you are transiting through Kuwait Airways, you’ll be using Terminal 4 which opened in 2018. It’s obviously better than the Terminal 1 and looks chic. KWI’s Terminal 2 will be reopening in 2022 and that should hopefully be the turning point for Kuwaiti Aviation following decades of struggles in maintaining their airline and airport, following a brutal war. Now that they’ve got 77Ws, A330-800neos and A320neos, they are on the right path.

    Unpopular Opinion : is it just me or does Muscat Airport feel like a combo of Dubai T3 + Doha Hamad mixed together?

  13. I did countless TAP flights between Portugal and Brazil.
    I like the A339neo, but I prefer the A350 and B787.

  14. @Alan
    It is not the airline’s fault that the government makes and enforces the rules. Think about it, if you decided to smoke on a United Airlines flight and the flight crew decides to divert and kick you off, you would look ridiculous if you try to blame and sue United for the rules that the government (which United Airlines is not) made and required enforcement of.

  15. @Bruh, I guess I have not kept up with the changes at Kuwait Airport. I flew there on a QR flight for a rugby match (sand pitch, good times LOL). The airport was just nasty. I guess I was in the old terminal. My wife transited through a couple years ago and I never heard the end of of it as she also had a less than seamless transfer.
    As for the Muscat Airport, I can’t complain, it is my transit airport of choice going between Qatar and UAE. It is so much better than to old airport. I though it kind of has it’s own unique style with the rock work and plants. Much more light colouring than the dark colours of Hamad, but yes, maybe a bit more like DXB Terminal 3.

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