Airbus achieved this unusual feat despite holding a dominant position in the market alongside Boeing during an unprecedented shortage of airliners.
Airbus Worst Selling Plane: A330-800neo
Business Insider reports that an undisclosed buyer purchased the solitary A330-800neo. Since its launch in 2014, this model has struggled to gain traction due to operational costs, resulting in a mere dozen orders.
Commercial aircraft are tailored to specific markets, and this particular Airbus was intended for low-cost airlines operating long-haul routes. In comparison to its sister model, the 900neo, the 800neo boasts impressive range capabilities but at the expense of seat capacity.
The less popular variant possesses a flight range exceeding 9,000 miles, offering a substantial advantage of 1,000 miles compared to the 900neo. However, the challenge arose as most airlines did not require such an extensive range.
Standard transatlantic flights typically cover around 3,500 miles. Airlines also leaned towards having a more spacious cabin to accommodate flexible seating configurations.
A limited number of seats translates to reduced revenue, particularly when considering the profitability of premium first and business-class seating.
Boeing 787 Wins the Race
The Boeing 787-9 serves as the most direct rival to the Airbus A330-800neo and has enjoyed commercial success, with Boeing satisfying over 600 orders since 2014.
Notably, Hawaiian Airlines (HA), the initial customer for the 800neo, opted to cancel its order with Airbus and instead acquire a dozen 787-9 planes.
Hawaiian Airlines CEO Peter Ingram explained to Business Insider that the decision was driven by the need to adapt to changes impacting the economic viability of the business.
The lack of popularity for an aircraft can pose additional difficulties for airlines in securing order deliveries. Challenges such as parts shortages and disruptions in the supply chain, exacerbated by the coronavirus pandemic, have led to diminished production capacity.
Manufacturers are inclined to prioritize planes with more extensive order lists, diverting resources accordingly.
Although Airbus has not explicitly mentioned potential delays for the A330-800neo, earlier this year, Reuters reported delays in A321neo deliveries—a considerably more successful aircraft.
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