Hogan tells Bloomberg Etihad's A350-1000 orders are firm
Bloomberg has reported that Etihad Airways, will hold onto its remaining orders of Airbus A350-1000 aircraft after scaling back its purchase plans by more than half and despite speculation from analysts and commentators in the region.
In an interview with Bloomberg’s Business Week Etihad CEO James Hogan said the cancellation of 13 A350-1000 orders was “a timing issue,” He added he was satisfied with the aircraft, which is the biggest variant of the A350 family of airliners.
The airline retains an order for 12 of the planes set for delivery in 2017.
The A350 is designed to compete against the Boeing 777 but there has been criticism from other Gulf airlines that it hasn’t made the step change to offer more than the B777.
Some analysts still remain sceptical. Saj Ahmad said: “"Etihad may well be holding onto the 12 orders for the A350-1000, but such a small standalone fleet against 777-300ERs and 787-9s would make it a very oddball airplane indeed. Airbus is clearly doing whatever it can to appease Etihad so that it doesn't cancel the remaining aircraft but as time goes on and with an expected delay to the baseline A350-900, that will invariably force a delay to the A350-1000 and Etihad would have to look again at whether the timing and indeed the airplane itself is even up to the job, especially as the airline is also eyeing up the prospective two members of the 777X family.
“Etihad can always shift its A350-1000 deposits to other variants or perhaps to their oft-deferred A380s, but it's clear that the airline is not at all compelled to stay with the program, especially when they have nixed over half the original orders for a plane that hasn't even reached design freeze. Timing may be one factor, but to cancel this far out stems to more problems faced by Airbus on the preceding A350-900 which are going to spill into the bigger A350-1000 which could push service entry back far beyond 2017."