Air One's A350-800s struck from order book

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Lessor Aircraft Purchase Fleet has cancelled its long-standing order for 12 Airbus A350-800s, reducing the backlog for the type to just 34.

The Irish-based leasing firm was established to take responsibility for aircraft orders allocated to Italian carrier Air One, including the A350s ordered in June 2008.

Air One placed the order for the Rolls-Royce Trent XWB-powered twinjets around the time of its merger with Italian flag-carrier Alitalia.

The cancellation, rather than a conversion, leaves just five customers for the smallest member of the A350 family – with one of the five, lessor AWAS, having already indicated an intention to switch to the larger -900.

Airbus is still looking into the possibility of a re-engined A330 to address the 250-seat sector. Airbus Americas president Barry Ecclestone says the airframer will make a decision by mid-year.

Aircraft Purchase Fleet’s cancellation was revealed by Airbus in its first-quarter order data. Philippine Airlines also cancelled five of the 10 A330-300s it ordered in September 2012.

But the A330 performed strongly during March as the Chinese market freed up orders for 21 A330-300s and seven -200s from four carriers. Hainan Airlines also transferred one of its ordered A330-300s to Hong Kong Airlines.

Airbus secured net orders for 103 aircraft over the first three months of the year including 20 A380s, 23 A330s and 60 A320-family jets.

It delivered 141 aircraft – including six A380s – but was behind rival Boeing's figure of 161 and slightly down on its own total of 144 achieved for the first quarter of 2013.