Airbus set to axe A350-800?

By David Flynn, July 23 2014
Airbus set to axe A350-800?

Airbus is expected to shelve plans to build the A350-800 jet – the smallest member of the A350 family – following the decision  by Hawaiian Airlines to drop its long-standing A350-800 order for the newer A330-800neo.

The airline initially signed up for six of the -800 jets, but overnight revealed it has converted that order to six A330-800neo jets for delivery from 2019.

Most other airlines which originally signed on the dotted line for the A350-800 have since upgraded to the larger A350-900 or -1000.

US Airways, which was on the books for 18 A350-800s, converted its order to the A350-900 in late December 2013.

The A350-800 is a pint-sized version of the baseline A350-900 with the same wing size – a 'shrink', in aviation terms – and "a shrink is never an optimal solution" says Scott Hamilton, aviation writer and analyst with LeehamNews.

“The economics are just not as good as the larger airplanes."

The A350-800 was designed to seat 276 passengers in a two-class configuration, but has attracted far fewer orders than its larger A350-900 and -1000 siblings.

Airbus will bring the A350-900 to Sydney in early August as part of a worldwide tour to test the aircraft ahead of its commercial debut by year's end.

Read: Airbus A350 coming to Sydney on August 5

For a peek inside the A350, check out our walkthrough of the first passenger-ready A350 and our first-hand report from on board the A350's flight test earlier this year.

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David Flynn is the Editor-in-Chief of Executive Traveller and a bit of a travel tragic with a weakness for good coffee, shopping and lychee martinis.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

06 Dec 2013

Total posts 16

I think airbus will spend the time for the a350xwb-900R.

I really want to see the 900R which might allow to fly London~Sydney,Melbourne nonstop.

I think the issue (problem) with OZ>>>>UK non stop is the cost of lifting all that fuel off the ground.  When oil was cheap, airlines did their utmost to avoid stopovers if they could.  Now the economics of really long flights just dont add up.  Just look at SQ and TG getting rid of their non stop to USA flights

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

06 Dec 2013

Total posts 16

I think that is because they were using the fuel-thirsty a340s.with the fuel efficient a350, it might be able.

31 Aug 2013

Total posts 60

It not simply a case of pure supply costs, it is also a case of demands.  When you choose to fly long haul A to B, to make it work you must have everyone (especially premium cabins) wanting to do directly A to B, else they still must fly A - B - C.  When this occures then the cheapest supply will be when B in the middle as opposed to an ultra long haul flight for one leg.  Ultimately this comination will become more profitable as extra revenue can be generated through cargo which the ultra long haul flight must make up for in premiums.

The other issue with the ultralong haul flights was the timing.  One way they worked fine in that the person could sleep and be awake for the right time zone.  However flying backwards they were really poorly timed cause jetlaged people even on a nice flat bed.  Ultrimately people were not willing to pay the premium of the flight when they could stop in the middle and meet up at a better timing.  It got to the point where the flights were becoming profitable one way only.

The flights where the long haul are profitable are those where there is not really a practical opposite (eg. transpacific where the two flights would become too small through Hawaii causing poor sleep).  The airlines however end up parking their feelts in the US for an extended period to try and fix the time of day issues.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

05 Jun 2014

Total posts 210

Would it be a solution to stop on the way back then ?

Hi Guest, join in the discussion on Airbus set to axe A350-800?