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Asiana conversion erases last A350-800 order

Airbus has eliminated the A350-800 order backlog after the final customer, Korean carrier Asiana Airlines, migrated its agreement for eight of the twinjets.

Asiana has converted the aircraft to eight of the larger A350-900. It has also opted to switch one of its 10 A350-1000s to a -900.

The change leaves Asiana with orders for 21 A350-900s – four of which have been delivered – plus nine -1000s.

Airbus has revealed the conversions in its latest backlog data, covering the period to the end of February.

The airframer had also been forced to remove the last remaining orders for its A330-800 during the same month, after sole customer Hawaiian Airlines axed its deal for six.

Airbus had offered the A350-800 as the smallest member of the three-aircraft A350 XWB family.

But while Airbus managed to secure orders for over 180 of the -800 variant at its peak, around a decade ago, the airframer opted to concentrate its efforts on the larger -900 and -1000.

Customers gradually converted A350-800 orders to other models, or cancelled them outright, and Airbus allowed the aircraft to languish.

It eventually sacrificed the 276-seat A350-800 – originally intended as an optimised airframe but subsequently revised to a simple shrink – in favour of a re-engined A330 family, comprising the 287-seat A330-900 and 257-seat A330-800.

While the A330-900 has gained orders for 214 aircraft the smaller -800 has attracted little interest.

TransAsia Airways, which ordered four A330-800s, collapsed in 2016 and Hawaiian Airlines has scrapped its order for six in a switch to the Boeing 787.

Airbus's A350 programme, following the Asiana conversions, has taken total orders for 686 A350-900s and 168 A350-1000s. The airframer has delivered 154 A350s, including its first -1000, leaving exactly 700 in the backlog at the end of February.

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