This article will try to shed some light on specific characteristics of A330neo as development schedule and cost, technical features and economics versus A330ceo.
First of all, concerning its development schedule it is natural to turn to previous and similar incremental developments as A320neo and B737MAX schedules. Development duration for these variants stands at ~5years. It is to be noted that brand new aircraft development duration is not so different being positioned between 5 years and 8 years depending on the type: B777 5.5 years, A330 8 years, A320 5 years, B787 8 years. In any case and taking into account these variability, A330neo development duration should not go below 4 years.
Secondly, concerning its development cost, again, it seems natural to turn to neo and MAX initiatives. For these, figures of 1 B€ -2 B€ seem to be the consensus without taking into account engine development costs bore by engine manufacturer ( B737 MAX development costs being higher as more mods required – see Flight Global article on the subject). Now, how to obtain A330neo development costs? These costs can be split in engineering ie mainly man.hours (incl. subcontracting) and testing hardware (one aircraft demo at max). Concerning Engineering costs, these will be driven by modifications to A330 baseline. It would seem that, as per Airliners.net post, some A350/ A380 cockpit features, additional composite materials in tail structure and sharklets could be integrated in A330neo in addition to new engine. Overall, these changes are more important than A320neo and seem in line with B737MAX. On testing hardware cost, these will be higher as A330neo aircraft and most parts are bigger. In this context, we would imagine development costs for A330neo standing ~ 1.5 -2 B€ (from 1 B€ on the A320neo).
Finally, let’s get into the economics, latest articles seem to point out that Rolls Royce should be powering A330neo variant with a variant of B787 engine Trent1000. These variant is expected to bring ~ 15-16% fuel burn advantage vs Trent700 in current A330 aircraft (conservative hypothesis: Trent700 and 800 have same performance – Trent 800 is higher bypass ratio engine and Trent 1000-TEN to be used for neo is 3% more efficient than Trent 1000). Taking the assumption that engine extra weight (~1t), drag and loss of efficiency due to bleed system will be roughly absorbed by sharklets and weight reduction initiatives, it means that A330neo fuel burn advantage vs A330 rests at ~15-16%. Translated in COC, it means ~7-8%
Overall, A330neo should be developed in 4/5 years with a cost of ~1.5/2 B€ and fuel burn advantage of 7-8 % translating in COC advantage