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  • Continuing the exploration of the A330, the aging aircraft’s engines can greatly affect its long-term residual value and overall economics for owners weighing freighter conversions.
  • Large express operators such as FedEx Express, UPS, and DHL would benefit most from the converted freighter, however unique container requirements limit its competitiveness over Boeing’s 767-300.
  • Conversion capacity remains a key bottleneck, largely limiting the near-term uptake of the A330P2F.

Selecting engines for an aircraft program largely sets in stone the dynamics that will follow an aircraft throughout its multi-decade life. Plane makers are looking to find the appropriate balance between fuel burn, time on wing, overhaul costs, and available thrust, but it stands to reason that aircraft owners would prefer increased engine options.

Yet, when do those options become obstacles? Having multiple options also segments the aircraft market, limiting the available second-hand market into which the aircraft could ultimately be sold.

Part One: The Airbus A330 is lost in the pandemic’s economic Twilight Zone

Airbus chose three engine options for the classic A330 aircraft, the Rolls-Royce Trent 700, Pratt & Whitney PW4000, and General Electric CF6. Each of these options brings similar advantages in operation, however, it is the aftermarket value where the three engines begin to show significant differences. For the A330, with a large portion of a relatively young fleet parked, the aircraft has been forced to deal with the possibility of entering its second life well ahead of schedule.

Part Two: Airbus’s A330 path to cargo conversion success faces an uphill battle

Through the in-depth examination of the A330 market, TAC Analysis has explored the aircraft’s unique age profile, its role in the depressed passenger market, and the challenges of transitioning it into the converted cargo market. This week, we dive further into the potential freighter market for the aircraft, and into how the separation between owners and operators could drive a unique second act for the A330.

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Courtney Miller is Managing Director of Analysis for The Air Current. Miller most recently spent 10-years with Bombardier Aerospace, serving as director, North America sales for the company’s commercial aircraft line and led airline marketing and analysis for the western hemisphere for airlines in North and South America and the community of global aircraft lessors. Miller is also founder of, where he merged industry history and analysis with insightful and beautiful data visualization to illustrate contemporary trends. Miller is a 3,000-hour U.S. airline pilot and began his career flying for U.S. regional airline Comair. He holds a Masters of Aeronautical Science from Embry-Riddle University and a Bachelors of Science in Aviation Technology from Purdue University. He is based in the Dallas, Texas Metroplex.

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