It seems Irish national airline Aer Lingus will not be operating the Airbus A350 after all. The carrier has recently transferred the remaining five it had on order to an undisclosed customer, data shows. Aer Lingus may very well feel that its upcoming A321XLRs are better suited to the airline’s long-haul operations moving forward.
Nothing is certain for the orderbooks as fleet shuffles and recalibrations continue in the wake of the COVID-19 crisis. Previously having transferred four of its nine-strong Airbus A350 order to sister carrier Iberia in 2019, Aer Lingus no longer has any of the type on order, eagle-eyed data-spotters report.
And indeed, when checking the orders and deliveries updates from Airbus for the past month, there are no longer any A350s destined for Aer Lingus on the sheet.
.@AerLingus no longer has any A350s on order, reports @cirium Dashboard. According to @MROreporter, the airline has transferred the five remaining A350-900s it had on order since 2008 to an unidentified customerhttps://t.co/tKNFdDCQVm (sub needed) pic.twitter.com/nZawyLRieE
— Max Kingsley-Jones (@MaxK_J) July 13, 2021
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Order from 2008
Much has changed since Aer Lingus first placed an order for six A350-900 back in April 2008. It later increased the order to nine by swapping three A330 orders. The planes were initially meant to be delivered from 2014 onwards. Four went to fellow IAG airline Iberia instead.
With 14 Airbus A330s and eight A321neoLRs already in the fleet and six A321XLRs on order, the Irish flag carrier may well feel its long-haul needs are covered for the foreseeable post-pandemic future.
Simple Flying has reached out to Aer Lingus for comment on the decision to step away from its remaining commitments to the A350. We were yet to receive a reply by the time of publication. This article may be updated with further information when a response is forthcoming.
The new recipient of the five still on order for Aer Lingus remains undisclosed. If they stay within the IAG family, where could they go? Iberia has nine A350-900s and another 11 yet to arrive. With the carrier’s plans of turning Madrid into a long-haul hub for travel to Asia, it could potentially take on more widebodies further down the road.
Meanwhile, British Airways already has eight A350-1000s in its fleet and another ten on order. New acquisition Air Europa is an all-Boeing carrier, so it is hard to imagine the Airbus jets joining its fleet.
No change to total number of orders
As the order has been transferred, Aer Lingus’ move does not change Airbus’ total order figures for the jet. The A350, which took its first flight in 2013 and entered service with Qatar Airways two years later, has until now received a total of 915 orders.
Out of those, 747 are for the standard A350-900 and 168 for the stretched A350-1000 variant. Thus far, 436 of the aircraft have been delivered. Its largest operator is currently Singapore Airlines, with a full 49 of the standard A350-900 and seven of the A350-900 ultra-long-range variant. The city-state flag carrier has another 11 of the former on order.
Meanwhile, it will soon be overtaken again at the top of the A350 list by Qatar Airways. The Gulf carrier, whose management has lauded the machine for its long-haul operations, has 34 A350-900s and 19 A350-1000s in its fleet, with another 23 of the -1000 on order. However, the Doha-based carrier recently stopped taking A350 deliveries over undisclosed issues that sources reported were related to dissatisfaction with the paint job on the jets.