Airbus Aviation News

What Are The Differences Between the Airbus A330neo and A350?

Airbus found itself playing a chasing game having to recover lost ground in the world of the twin jet wide body aircraft segment. Airbus needed to offer a credible alternative to the 777 to match its dominance. The Airbus A330ceo had many shortcomings compared to the much larger American produced plane. Therefore Airbus decided to design a new plane from scratch, the Airbus A350, and further evolve the A330 family, with the neo variants. However which are the differences in performance, size and use of these two planes? How do they differ?

Which Variants of the Airbus A330neo and A350 Exist?

Both aircraft types have 2 variants each:

The Airbus A350:

  • A350-900
  • A350-1000

The Airbus A330neo:

  • A330-800
  • A330-900

The A330-800 effectively replaces the A330-200 while the 900 variant replaces the 300 variant. However the presence of the A350 has diverted quite a few clients away from the A330 series, which launched much later than the larger plane.

What are the differences between the A330neo and the A350?

How Do The A330neo and A350 Differ in Size?

Of the two aircraft type the A350 is clearly the largest. It is significantly bigger than the A330neo in length, width and wings.

Specifically the the the A350:

Cabin Width5,96m5,96m
Max Seats440480

Specifically the the the A330neo:

Cabin Width5,26m5,26m
Max Seats406460

Usually the A330neo features an 8 abreast seating configurations in a 2-4-2 configurations. The latest A350s produced would allow a 3-4-3 10 abreast seating layout, however most airline still to date retain the standard 3-3-3 configuration.

How Do Planes Differ in Performance?

As to the performance of the two planes, the A350 is capable of carrying a heavier load. However the planes overlap in terms of range.

Specifically the the the A350:


Specifically the the the A330neo:


So why does Airbus produce both planes if the types overlap in some features as we saw above?

Airbus A350-900 British Airways

Why Does Airbus Produce Both if They Are Similar?

Airbus has a few reasons to produce both types of the aircraft although they both fall into the long range, twin jet, wide body category:

  1. It offers the option to A330ceo operators to simply upgrade not forcing their flight crew get a new type rating.
  2. The smaller size of the A330neo might be the right fit for airlines on certain lower demand long range routes where it might be harder to fill the larger A350
  3. It covers the market segment that the Boeing 787 is in. Therefore Airbus can offer a viable alternative to the Dreamliner in its lineup.
  4. Lastly the A330neo is much more versatile than it might seem. The 800 version of the plane has also been designed and optimised to operate as a high capacity medium range plane. It’s been designed to go through more pressurisation and landing cycles than the A350. Much like the smaller A320 family. Why so? Because airlines in the post covid world are facing issues with capacity, coping with demand also on short and medium haul sectors. We’ve seen 777 and even 747s fly domestically again in the past 12 month. Airbus thinks it can offer a solution to this problem with the A330neo’s capabilities.

Which Is The Most Popular The A350 or the A330neo?

Albeit the Airbus A350 was launched well before the A330neo, there is a clear winner in terms of airline preferences. So far these are the orders placed for the 2 aircraft types:

  • A total of 967 orders have been placed with Airbus for the A350 in both variants 900 and 1000
  • A total of 289 orders have been placed with Airbus for the A330neo in both variants 800 and 900. However the 800 variant has received on 12 orders.

About the author

Alex Achille

Ex Cabin Crew with Emirates, I've always loved travelling and other cultures. In this website I'll be sharing my experiences along with my reviews of the latest Korean Dramas and TV Series I've watched.