End of A350-800 programme near?

23 Jul 2014 by Tamsin Cocks

Hawaiian Airlines (HA) today announced the cancellation of its six-aircraft-strong A350-800 order in favour of the same number of A330-800neos.

Rumour has it that HA was one of the last carriers intent on seeing the -800 variant take to the skies after others had already been swayed by Airbus to alter their orders from the -800 variant to the -900 and -1000 models, both larger aircraft.

The A350 XWB program was originally designed to produce three different variants of the A350 aircraft, offering different range, passenger and cargo capacity. Airbus is most certainly pushing ahead with the two larger variants, the -900 and -1000, as these have secured significantly more orders (539 and 169 respectively) and therefore render production sensible and cost-effective with economies of scale applying.

The same cannot, unfortunately, be said about the -800 variant, which had only secured 34 orders before HA’s cancellation came through.

It is now expected within industry circles that Airbus will notify the few remaining -800 clients that the production of said variant will be terminated, and hopefully be able to persuade them to switch their orders over to the larger variants.

As of today, Airbus has existing orders for the -800 variant from Aeroflot (8x), Asiana Airlines (8x), Yemenia (10x) and leasing firm AWAS (2x).

The -800 variant would typically seat 276 passengers, while the -900 and -1000 will seat 315 and 369 passengers respectively.

The first A350-900 variant is slated to be delivered to launch customer Qatar Airways in October this year.

Dominic Sebastian Lalk

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