The Hawaiian Airlines change of heart over the A330-800 is a blow to Airbus’ pride. They weren’t just the launch customer, they were the only customer for the A332 replacement.
The only reason the A338 even had that order was because the original order was for the discontinued A350-800 and Airbus persuaded Hawaiian to swap.
It wasn’t something they were always comfortable with. The A338 wasn’t quite the cutting edge the A350 would have been.
Boeing can consider it partial revenge over the Bombardier deal that it persuaded Hawaiian into the 787-9, although only God knows how much discount they must have coughed up to make it happen.
Airbus now have a prototype test aircraft, and patience. There are an awful lot of A332’s out there that need replacement over the coming years, the A338 is the obvious successor. Airbus can’t afford to let those opportunities pass it by, because Boeing will be hard on their heels waving Dreamliners and discounts in the rear view mirror.
It’s been an uncomfortable week for Airbus, formally winding down the A380 production to six per year and making 3,600 people redundant. That’s something they hate to do, loosing qualified aerospace technicians is never an easy move.
However it wasn’t all bad with 30 A359’s ordered by Turkish.