The World's First Airbus A330 Has Been Retired

Cathay Pacific/Dragon has retired the world’s first Airbus A330.

Cathay Pacific has announced the retirement of the world’s first Airbus A330. The aircraft, B-HLJ, was the first A330-300 prototype (MSN 12) and operated the first A330 flight in November 1992.

Eventually, the aircraft was delivered to Cathay Pacific in 1996 and was transferred to its subsidiary Dragonair in 2013. Despite Dragonair’s rebrand to Cathay Dragon, the aircraft never received the new livery.

The aircraft last flew on July 17 when it was ferried from Hong Kong to Taipei Taoyuan, likely for retirement. This A330-300 completed 63,900 hours and 26,983 cycles of service for the Cathay Pacific Group.


Image: B-HLJ | Airbus A330-342 | Dragonair | summerhom | JetPhotos

This aircraft is over 27 years old, so retirement was imminent, with or without COVID-19. Farewell to the aircraft that always has smooth landings (usually 🤔).


ive never flown a a330 always wonder what its like

With this, i think we can confidently say that we have reached the beginning of the end for the A330 (old variant at least). The oldest ones are now 25ish years old. But hey, you never know, they might get a new lease of life as coverted freighters and continue flying well into their 30s, just like the 767

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That’s so sad, many airlines are retiring legendary planes 😭

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It’s usually a great experience, especially in Economy Class with the typical 2-4-2 configuration.

It rides very well! I’ve flown on Deltas A330 from KATL-PHNL and back and it was one of the best wide bodies out there

The Airbus A330 had higher capacity and better fuel efficiency than the 767, but wasn’t as big as the 747, so that appealed to a lot of airlines back in the day. It still appeals to airlines, but markets have changed and other planes have become more fuel efficient, so other aircraft appeal more. That’s why the A330-900neo was released, so the glorious A330 could keep competing with today’s market.

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In all seriousness, I am aware that aircraft must be retired at some point…

This one just really hit my heart hard

After the queen, this?


It’s a great plane. Been on TAP in First Class and Economy and it is nice and quiet.

Yes, but while the old ones are 25+ years old, the newest ones are just 2-3 years old. Thankfully we’ll see them for a while still.


Its amazing how by the time I’m 50 there will be a new era of aircraft and the A330 will be a rarity

Oh boy… another era is about end :( this pandemic really did a very huge damage on the aviation industry

It’s surprising how it’s taken this long for this A330 to be retired. The B777’s that are younger than this have started retirement/scrapping so this is very unexpected indeed. Thank you for the insight!

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It’s sad to see it happen but it would have happened eventually. I hope the A330 stays for years to come!

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No, no, no, no, no!
Well, I only flew on one A330, but it’s sad to hear this.

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I’m not too worried because it looks like the neos are selling pretty well right now. Still, it’ll be sad to watch the original variant go. This plane is so satisfying to watch land.

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The A330 is an underrated aircraft and this entire event just goes to validate this. Everyone remember when B-HNL was retired? Yeah, it’s still here, but what about B-HLJ? Heck, it debuted earlier than the 777, as far as 1992. Nobody would believe you if you told them that this aircraft existed in 1992. The A330 is a timeless aircraft that is seldom appreciated for its hard work, so I’m surprised that its retirement is even acknowledged. Man, what an aircraft.

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I’ve flown on the A330 many times before. My favorite part is the howling sound when taking off 🤩. If you want to hear the engine sound click here

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i remember flying on it,i live in Hong Kong and has traveled shorthaul on that exact plane. B-HLJ

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