This is always fun to read. Boeing is saying that Airbus' A330neo, poised to compete with its 787, is made of older technology.
Beyond the war of words, let's be honest here. Airbus has been lukewarm (to say the least) about reegineering its A330, its most successful widebody aircraft. They obviously wanted to push the A350 instead, but AirAsia X has been very vocal about a lower fuel burn, as was Delta.
Fears of sales cannibalisation aside, the A330-800neo and -900neo were just announced at Farnborough (estimated delivery Q4 2017 and Q1 2018 respectively) with an expected fuel consumption reduction of 5 to 14% per seat depending on the configuration, with new engines and aerodynamic improvements (including A350 inspired winglets to reduce drag), aluminum notwithstanding.
I'm sure that the A320neo being a success has helped Airbus' management change of mind and I don't think the A330 could have continued to maintain competitiveness against the 787. With more than 70 airlines not operating the latter yet, there's an opportunity that just had to be taken. The aircraft should also be sold with a good margin, even though it appears to be discounted against the 787.
we feel highly confident in our new technology line that is already in place as it competes against a refurbished A330
says Boeing's chief executive. He's not entirely wrong, but we know the dynamics of that market are not on plane merits alone.
And it's not as if improving on trusted designs is lost on them either with the 737 MAX or the 777X.