Following ’ decision to switch from the -800 to the -800neo, Airbus now has only 28 firm orders left for the smallest version of the A350 family.
Airbus has been trying to convince its customers to convert orders to the larger A350-900 or the A330neo, which was launched at last week’s Farnborough air show. Hawaiian was considered to be one of the customers most difficult to convince of the move because of the airline’s long-range requirements. Its decision is a major breakthrough for Airbus.
The 28 remaining firm orders are from(8), (8), AWAS (2) and Yemenia (10). The A350-800 was originally due for first delivery in 2016. Airbus has stopped short of officially canceling the program because it still has firm commitments in place. But CEO Fabrice Bregier has made no secret of his intentions to do so once it is contractually possible.
“We believe the A330neo is the more efficient solution,” he said last week.
The A330-900neo is scheduled to enter service by the end of 2017. The smaller -800 version (and the equivalent of the current -200 operated by Hawaiian) will become available in the first half of 2018. Airbus believes that most airlines will opt for the -900 due to its greater seating capacity and because many carriers do not need the additional range. Hawaiian, however, has planned to use the A350-800 (and now the A330-800neo) to open routes deeper into Asia and needs more range rather than more seats.