Airbus at the Farnborough International Airshow launched two new versions of the A330 family, raising the maximum takeoff weight and allowing longer range and higher payloads.

The enhancements will raise the maximum takeoff weight for the type to 240 metric tons. This will allow the A330-330 to carry five tons more payload over the current 235-ton aircraft, and could increase range by 400 nm. to 5,950 nm., says COO John Leahy. “This allows the A330-300 to cover 94% of the [Boeing] 777-200ER’s range,” he says.

For the A330-200, the range benefits are smaller--an additional 270 nm of range.

The 240-ton A330, launched today, is expected to enter into service by the summer of 2015, Leahy says. No launch customer has been named, but Leahy says one may be announced by the end of the air show this week. Three airlines and one lessor have expressed interest, he adds.

The 240-ton A330 will be an option; customers can continue to buy the lower 235-ton A330-300 and the 238-ton A330-200, Leahy says.

The increased range is made possible by a variety of airframe improvements, wing load alleviation and other wing modifications and an aerodynamic package of improvements that could reduce fuel burn by 1%.

Sharklets are not expected to be part of the package, because installing sharklets would require further wing modifications and would at best result in just 1% more in fuel burn savings. These did not make installing sharklets worth it, Leahy says.

The increased range makes possible new city pairs for the A330. The 240-ton aircraft will be capable of flying between Frankfurt and Cape Town, South Africa; Beijing to Melbourne, Australia; and Los Angeles to Dublin, says Leahy. This is a 2,000-nm. improvement over the original A330-300 introduced in 1992, he adds