Middle Eastern carrier Etihad Airways has slashed another seven Airbus A350-1000s from the airframer's books, more than halving its original order for 25.

Etihad had previously cancelled six A350-1000s and the new cuts mean that its order for the twinjet drops to just 12.

It also means the overall backlog for the type, the largest member of the A350 family, falls to 62 - a disappointment for the -1000 programme which has not landed any orders since the jet was redesigned a year ago.

Etihad's cancellation of more A350-1000s comes as the Abu Dhabi-based carrier expresses initial interest in the proposed Boeing 777X, an enhanced version of the US airframer's own large twinjet.

While the A350 family backlog remains strong, at 548 aircraft, the figure has fallen from the 574 logged just before the -1000's redesign.

These had included 75 for the -1000 and 140 for the -800. But the backlog for the -800, whose entry into service was delayed at the same time as the -1000's redesign, has eroded to 118 aircraft.

Airbus's most popular variant, the -900, has benefited in part from -800 customers' opting to migrate to the larger type, but the -900's sales have only increased by a net nine aircraft.

Final assembly of the first A350, a -900, is underway at Toulouse - this aircraft will be the static test airframe, while assembly of the first flying prototype will start in the summer.

The airframer's latest order data, covering January-April 2012, show Garuda Indonesia's deal for 11 A330-300s last month helped prevent widebody orders sinking into negative figures in the first third of the year.

Airbus secured 89 net A320-family orders for the period but only six net long-haul sales. It had delivered 183 jets by the end of April, including five A380s, 34 A330s and 144 A320-family aircraft.

Source: Air Transport Intelligence news