Airbus is aiming to sell another 30 A350s this year, across the family, and is unconcerned by the order book plateau for the -800 and -1000 variants.

Chief operating officer for customers John Leahy, speaking at an event in Toulouse earlier this week, insists that the airframer's main difficulty in attracting orders is slot availability.

He says that, at a recent event, two airline chiefs - one from the USA, the other from Asia - expressed interest in the A350-1000, entry into service for which has been put back to 2017.

But Leahy says that Airbus is already having to manage a backlog of 548 aircraft across the three-member family.

"Our goal is to have about 30 aircraft sold this year," he says. "The biggest constraint is production slots."

He also says Airbus is "pretty comfortable" with the A350-1000's ability to compete with the proposed Boeing 777X, an enhanced version of the US airframer's largest twinjet.

"[Boeing] only started talking about 777X when the A350 came out," he says. "They know the 777-300ER doesn't compete with -1000."

Source: Air Transport Intelligence news