The A350-1000 gets another blow as Cathay cuts its order

It seems like an almost farcical reality but the aircraft designed partly to compete with the 777-X is having that very competition used against it. 

In another blow to the A350-1000 Cathay Pacific has cancelled 6 and deferred 5 more by 12 months to decide what to do with them. 

While it’s not all bad news – the 6 have been turned into A350-900’s, lifting the backlog to 659, it makes it increasingly difficult for Airbus to bring the project home with any chance of recouping development costs on the -1000 variant.  Absolutely any chance of a stretched -1100 is now completely gone.

This brings the number of -1000’s down to 171 – and the looming threat of American to remove another 22 could reduce that even more significantly. 

The -1000 is becoming another A340-600 with everyone saying it’s a great idea then bottling out when it comes to the crunch of flying it. 

Once a direct competitor was the manufacturer goal, never quite the same as the opposition but with redeeming features – each side had something the other didn’t and they made their choice. Now having made it they’re effectively penalising Airbus for making it too close to the 777-9/10. 

What the airlines and Boeing missed was a 772 replacement size and that’s now the A359. It appears uniqueness is now more important than offering a competitive aircraft. Choice isn’t what’s required. 

Airlines are fickle customers and nothing demonstrates that more than the evolving fate of the A350-1000.