A330 first flew in 1992. But the concept started in the 1970s with the developement of the the A300. There was a need to "replace" the aging A300 to be more competetive with "other" aircraft manufacturers.
So they came up with new technology airframes for the A330 and A340 (a four engined version of the A330).
As a note: The A320 on the other hand was the first to incorporate the fly-by-wire technology installed on the A330 and A340.
November. The maiden flight for the Airbus A330 was on 2 November 1992.
Northwest Flight 253 was in Delta Equitment. It's an Airbus A330-300 Aircraft that still flys for Delta today. The flight regestration is N820NW
The Airbus A330 was launched in June 1987. First flight was in November 1992 and the first aircraft entered service with Air Inter (defunct French domestic airline) in December 1993. The 200 series was introduced in 1995 with the first delivery to Canada 3000 (defunct Canadian charter firm) in April 1998. As at Dec 2009, 372 A330-200's have been delivered to in excess of 60 customers, of which the major operators include Emirates (29), Air China (20), Qatar (16) and Air France (15).
A330-200: US$176.3 to $185.5m A330-300: $195.9 to $205.7m A330-200F: $180.6 to $187.7m
The A330 can carry up to 335 passengers
The Airbus A330 has a maximum range of 13,450 km.
Currently on Delta in the summer on the 767 it is 9hours55min and the return is 9hours In the winter on the A330 it is 10hours10min and the return is 8hours50min
An Airbus A330-200 costs between $171m and $201m. The A330-300 between $196m and $206m. (US Dollars).
An A330-200: 119,600 kg (264,000 lb)An A330-200F: 109,000 kg (240,000 lb)
Airbus A330 maximum rangeA330-200: 13,400 km (7,200 nmi)A330-200F: 7,400 km (4,000 nmi)A330-300: 11,300 km (6,100 nmi)