The Airbus A330-200F must have seemed like a slamdunk for Airbus. They had already sold hundreds of A300 freighters and there was a large fleet of converted older A300s, 767s, DC-10s and MD-11s ready to be replaced. It hasn't quite worked out like that in the end, for a variety of reasons often outside of Airbuses control. Still the A330F is a solid aircraft that has no doubt paved the way for the A330P2F programme and you can only expect to see more A330 freighters in the future.
- Shortening the nose gear leg.
- Integral jacking system.
- Hydraulic extension.
- Lengthened gear and bay.
- A340-600 nose gear.
- A350 nose gear.
- Bottle jack.
- Aircraft jack.
- High-lift towbar-less tractor.
- Main deck cargo loading system and power drive units.
- Multiple minor changes
The A330-200F first flew on November 5, 2009 with the first deliveries to Etihad Crystal Cargo in July 2010. Following the global depression of 2008 the delays to the A330-200F were probably seen as a blessing with the resulting collapse of the airfreight market in 2009. By May 2010 Airbus had secured 44 orders but this included the Flyington aircraft. At that point Airbus still had lofty goals for the freighter. They foresaw a need for about 400 new build mid-size aircraft over the next 20 years (plus 1,200 passenger to freight conversions). This has not come to pass and as of December 2016 only 36 A330-200Fs had been delivered with 6 on order. Thirty two of these aircraft are fitted with the Rolls Royce Trent 772 engine.
In the end the A330-200F has not fulfilled Airbuses sales targets, however that isn't necessarily the fault of the airframe itself. It is still one of the best freighters available and was developed at relatively low cost to Airbus. Plus it fed benefits back to the passenger programme helping the A330 to compete favourably against the newer 787.
"The A330-200F will enable Hong Kong Airlines to enter the dedicated cargo market with the most efficient aircraft available today in its class. With our new freight services we will be able to complement our fast-growing passenger network as we work to build Hong Kong Airlines as one of the leading carriers in the Asian region."
HK Airlines first three aircraft were leased from Aircastle Limited. They now operate 5 including one aircraft formerly operated by their HNA sister-group carrier Yangtze River Express.
2010, May. Airbus's general freight hauler: A330-200F technical description. Flight Global
2010, September. Hong Kong Airlines becomes new operator of A330-200F. Airbus.com
2011, February. India's Flyington cancels A330 freighter order. Flight Global