Airbus Cuts 20 Aircraft From A330neo Orderbook

Credit: Romain Peli/Master Films/Airbus

Airbus has cut half of a firm order for 40 A330-900s placed by an undisclosed customer, believed to be HNA Group, from its backlog.

The latest issue of Airbus’ orders and deliveries dataset, published to include all transactions until the end of February, lists just 20 A330-900s for the undisclosed customer. The overview previously listed 40. The deal has never been officially confirmed by any of the parties.

HNA Group built up a conglomerate of several Chinese carriers as part of a hugely aggressive growth strategy that went beyond aviation. In early 2021 the group entered bankruptcy proceedings under the burden of an untenable debt level. HNA subsequently exited many of its investments, including its core aviation business under the Hainan Airlines brand, which was scooped up by Liaoning Fangda Group. It remains unclear as to which legal entity has picked up the 20 A330-900s that remain on Airbus’ books.

The reduction may only be the first part of a more painful clean-up exercise for the A330neo backlog. Airbus still lists AirAsia X as having 78 aircraft on firm order, which initially made the airline by far the aircraft’s largest customer. But in 2021 the long-haul LCC and Airbus agreed to reduce the order to just 15 aircraft—and 20 A321XLRs. 

Elsewhere, Iran Air is listed for 28 A330-900s which the airline is unlikely to be able to take in the foreseeable future because of the Western sanctions imposed on Iran. Assuming the smaller AirAsia X commitment can be counted on and leaving out the Iran Air deliveries, the A330neo backlog now stands at 174 units. Late last year, Airbus was able to add commitments from Condor for seven of the type and from ITA Airways for 10.

Other changes to the Airbus widebody backlog include a restructured Kuwait Airways order. The airline has reduced its order for the A330-800 from eight to four, while now planning to take seven of the larger A330-900. At the same time, Kuwait has canceled orders for three A350-900s.

Airbus delivered four aircraft to Russian customers in February. Among them was an A350-900 to Aeroflot, two A321neos for S7 Airlines and Ural Airlines—via lessors Aviation Capital Group and SMBC Aviation Capital—and one A320neo to Smartavia through CDB Leasing.

For the month as a whole Airbus delivered 36 A320neo family aircraft, four A220s, two A330-900s, one A330-200 (to Airbus Defence and Space) and six A350s. 

February orders also included two A320neos for Aer Lingus, 28 A320neo family aircraft for Jazeera Airways, 20 A321neos for an undisclosed customer, 20 A220-300s for lessor Aviation Capital Group and 30 of that aircraft for JetBlue.

In addition to the A330-900 cancellations, Airbus also took out 17 A320neos from the orderbook.

Jens Flottau

Based in Frankfurt, Germany, Jens is executive editor and leads Aviation Week Network’s global team of journalists covering commercial aviation.


1 Comment
De-booking if a VERY painful exercise normally ending in some folks seeking new "opportunities".