AWAS eyes switch of A350-800s to -900s

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Operating lessor AWAS is looking to convert its order for two Airbus A350-800 aircraft to the larger -900 variant.

The order, which the Dublin-based lessor inherited when it purchased Pegasus Aviation Finance in 2007, is due for delivery in 2018.

Sources say the chief executive officer of AWAS, Ray Sisson, told analysts and shareholders in a fourth-quarter earnings call that Airbus no longer intends to produce the -800 variant, and that the lessor expects to reach agreement with manufacturer to convert its orders to the -900 in order to avoid being saddled with an orphaned fleet.

When asked about the comments, Sisson told Flightglobal: “The recent market movement from both airlines and investors alike toward the A350-900 variant, away from the smaller 800 version, calls into question whether that model makes it into production in the near future.”

Earlier this month, lessor ILFC converted its remaining six orders for the Airbus A350-800 to the -900.

The lessor, which has been acquired by AerCap, now has 20 orders confirmed as A350-900s.