Airbus stays firm on A350-800 development schedule

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Airbus insists it remains committed to the A350-800, despite its much-reduced backlog, and has not drawn up plans to change the programme schedule.

Qatar Airways' conversion of its order for 20 has taken the A350-800 demand down to 92 aircraft, half the number which featured in the -800's peak backlog.

But Airbus executive vice-president for programmes Tom Williams says: "We're still committed to the -800. We think we need to be present in each [category] of range."

The airframer intends the -800's range to be around 8,500nm (15,700km).

"It's still very much part of the family," says Williams. "For some airlines it's essential."

US Airways and Aeroflot, which each have 18 on order, and Hawaiian Airlines, with six, are among the customers for the -800.

Several others have migrated to larger A350 variants. Kingfisher Airlines' financial predicament leaves its order for five highly uncertain.

But Williams says the airframer is "still committed to the schedule" - which currently involves putting the -800 into service in 2016, ahead of the -1000 - and that there has been "no review" of the -800 programme.