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.
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