Pontifications: Planes nobody wants

By Scott Hamilton

Jan. 16, 2017, © Leeham Co.: Airbus and Boeing continue to offer planes that nobody wants.

Well, almost nobody.

The aircraft remain on the published price lists of both companies, for reasons that passeth understanding. Nobody ordered the aircraft for years.


Airbus lists the A318 and the A319ceo for sale.

Airbus A318. Only VIPs are ordering the airplane. There hasn’t been one sold since 2015.

There hasn’t been an order for the A318 since April 2015, and that was for a business jet configuration. No order has come in for the A319ceo since December 2014.

Both airplanes are still there.

For years, Airbus listed the A340. The last sale on this airplane was November 2012, in VIP version. The last airline model was delivered in mid-2011.

The A350-800 is included in the current price list, but there is only one customer—Aeroflot—for the airplane, with just eight. At its peak, there were nearly 200 orders for the plane. But operating costs were projected to be the same for the larger A350-900. Program delays prompted Airbus to persuade customers to swap to the larger -900 or -1000, which also had the benefit of being more profitable for Airbus.

The current A330-200 and A330-800 remain in production offerings, but sales are at a snail’s pace. There are just 10 orders for the A330-800, most converted from the A350-800 by Hawaiian Airlines. The A330-200 has a backlog of 45.


ANA was the last airline to order the Boeing 777-200ER–seven years ago. Boeing still says it offers the airplane for sale. Photo: Planespotting via Google images.

Over at Boeing, it still lists the 777-200ER as a product offering. There hasn’t been an order for this model since December 2009.

“All of the airplanes on our pricing list are available for sale if a customer is interested,” a Boeing spokesman says.

Boeing quietly dropped the 737-500, 737-600 and 767-200ER from its prices lists, with no fuss nor fanfare. In contrast, Airbus announced discontinuing the A340 family in 2011. The last airplane, a VIP model, was delivered the following year.


Bombardier still lists the CRJ-700 in its price list, but there have been few takers. Likewise, Embraer still lists the E170-E1. There are few takers for this airplane and Embraer dropped it when designing the E2 family.


36 Comments on “Pontifications: Planes nobody wants

  1. Great Topic / Title 🙂 🙂 You were a little careful still. Were are the 77-8 & new 737-7? Like the A380 & A330-800 on the other side.

  2. Aeroflot’s A350-800s were removed from the order book in December. Only Asiana is still listed by Airbus as a -800 customer.

    The A318 will disappear as soon as A320ceo production ceases. The A319ceo will still be offered because it’s the basis of the ACJ.

    The A330-200/800 will continue to be offered because it’s the basis for freighter and tanker models.

  3. The ramp-down of CEO to full closing vs ramp-up exclusively of NEO powerplants for A319, A320 and/or A321 @ CFMI, MTU and or PW entails production planning head-aches also for the Engine OEMs, an industrial reality whereto Airbus is solidaire so Airbus is not entirely free to kill their CEO offerings themselves (were that feasible ?), some regards to their partners in the engine industry is the least that may be expected … Now if the A319 CEO and/or A320 CEO are in disgrace by airline buyers, why not have bitten the bullit and offered feeder freighters instead, I mean A319F CEO, A320F CEO and/or A321F CEO newbuilds : the engine OEMs wouldn’t mind putting their CEO engines on those dedicated freighter airframes, which could help absorbing any remaining CEO powerplant surplus coming through the engine FALs, whilst selling better than CEO pax versions, oder ? Should have been planned in 2012/2013 to solve CEO phase-out difficulties in 2016-2018 ?

    • What makes you believe they haven’t planned for the CEO powerplant phase-out?

        • Very good example, MartinA … the KC-390 appears an opportunistic planning device to absorb powerplant surplus production originating in the Airbus phase-over to NEO. A timely A32X-F CEO would have done more of the same …

          • All 320-F plans and early P2F plans were killed by the high demand for the pax version and lack of feedstock, so I don’t see an A-320 as unlikely, esp if the engines are cheap. Airbus seem to be sitting on the fence and are maybe waiting to see if the A320NEO starts to displace CEOs in such numbers that P2F kills any new build freighter demandd.

    • There is no lack of demand on any of the A320 family FAL lines. What sense would offering an F version make?
      You offer an F version when you lack FAL utilization.
      ( A300,310,767 )

      Decission making aspect is : what cost associated with keeping the model. My guess would be negligible for A318, A319 ( OK the NEO will incur cert. cost) and A332/A338.

      On the other side we see Boeing removing the rather bespoke -700/7MAX that lacks sales from its portfolio and replacing it with an 8MAX plain shrink of the same name.

      The 788 is another model that comes with high individual cost contrasted by low future interest. I expect this to go away when the backlog has been brought down.

      • @ Uwe : offering narrowbody CEO-F’s in hintersight (if it had been done in 2012/13 with 4 years of development time —-> EIS by 2016/18) would have ignited such a strong interest that B+A could have avoided the extreme costly price war that started after the ATO for NEO and MAX, when the market went beserk, from fear of white tail CEOs on both sides. Between 150 to 200 CEO narrowbody paxliner slots were found unsecured for sales, creating pressure on contract proceeds. The availability of factory-new feeder freighters as an alternative would IMHO have spared Leahy the need to move on A32X prices.

  4. With TransAsia Airways ceasing operation, Hawaiian Airlines it’s now the only remaining customer for the A330-800neo with 6 planes on order. Aeroflot cancelled their 8 A350-800 orders last week, leaving only 8 orders from Asiana Airlines. Asiana is expected to switch their orders to the -900 soon. In my opinion, that makes it unlikely that either aircraft is going to be built with it’s current specs.

    The problem for Hawaiian is that it’s clear they want a small wide body for very long range operations. They were already reluctant to change from the A350-800 to the A330-800, since they want to offer direct flights from Honolulu to destinations in Europe. Although Hawaiian is a loyal Airbus customer, the need for a plane for long thin routes could make them go for a 787.

    The question is whether Airbus sees enough potential in the market niche for smaller ultra long range aircraft to develop a more optimized derivative of the A330 or A350. It’s clear that the current plans for the A330-800 and A350-800 are not up to the challenge.

    • Wehrheim,

      I agree with you that the A350-800 will not be built. But, Stealth66 mentions above that since the A330-200 serves as the basis for the A330 MRTT, then the A330-800 will probably be built. Therefore, I must agree with Stealth66’s conclusion.

      Or…maybe I’m wrong. We’ll see.

      • The problem is that the A330MRT is based on the CEO.

        Change to the NEO and it has to be -re-certified and the commonality of the engines changes.

        767Tanker (KC46) would benefit from new engines as well but that is not going to happen and the program ahs about as many orders as the A330-NEO has total.

        Where that leaves Hawaiian is an open question. I have pondered the forced bit that Airbus keeps pushing but why Hawaiian has not pushed back (orders 787s) is unknown.

        Hawaiian seems pretty bent on the size they want and the range they want.

        Boeing and Hawaiian had done well over the years or so I thought.

        Be interesting to see.

        • A330-800 is a cut down 900, not expensive, and I am not so sure MRTT customers will accept the same old tech as USAF. If you don’t have so many aircraft and you are using them for general transport as well then you might want to insist on the A330-MRTT-NEO.

        • Well, Hawaiian can’t order a 787-8 because Boeing wo0n’t sell one to them at a reasonable price. Hence, production of the the 787-8 is soon to be shut down (which just can’t bee soon enough for Boeing!). So, Hawaiian’s last hope is the A330-800.

          Meanwhile, Airbus is considering the A330 MRTT NEO based on the A330 NEO. This would be a cool plane.


          And on the other side of the world, the Chinese have just Completed the Xian Y-20 Military Transport which will also become a tanker once the WS-15 Engine is made available.


          At least 2 new Tankers on the way…maybe 3.

          • Airbus might offer the A350-900 ULR for the same price with a low MTOW forcing Hawaiian to have the same number of seats as the A350-800. Then when they want to upgrade to SQ pax amd MTOW they need to pay up.

        • The MRTT conversion is afaik an STC kit that can be applied to any A330 frame.
          According to Airbus you can have a CEO airframe anytime you want in the future ( I’ve asked 🙂
          So the changes from CEO to NEO appear to be a swap in /swap out option.

    • Transworld,

      I second adding the 737-10 to the list. I mean, the plane hasn’t even been approved for sale and design, and yet I do not want it any more.

      Also, add the A400M Program to the list about which Airbus CEO Tom Enders said, “It is better to put an end to the horror than have horror without end.” Well, they finally got the program to stop bleeding and break even on a yearly basis 6 years later….but they will never recover all the money they sink into it….because no one wants it.



      • Boeing has given Authorisation To Offer the 737-10. If enough airlines are interested, it will be launched.

        • Will the 737-10 ever win a competition against A321 or will this type just swap some 737-9 orders?

          • Yes, for United, Alaska, SW or all 737 operators, holding out with the 737 until a new single aisle arrives in 2035. The 7, 10, or even more improvements to the 8, a 40″ stretch, a flat rear bulkhead, whatever pays the ROI is a no brainer if airlines agree to order a few hundred and pay the small premium.

            As for Delta and American, I would assume they would be moving towards some future simplified fleet, and the A321 and MAX 9/10 would be redundant. So all I see are A321s. Delta can wait for the CS500. American got a good deal on the MAX, so they can load up on MAX 7/8s.

          • Ted Et All:

            AK is in an interesting position as they have some great deals on A321NEO they inherited from Virgin.

            They get to get some familiarity on Airbus A320 type as they merge their operations with Virgin.

            Then they have a decision on the -10 and the A321NEO orders they have and what to do with the fleet.

            I look forward to that decision as its the most interesting one going forward.

            Everyo0ne else probably can make do with the -10 if its an all 737 fleet, but they continue to be at a competitive disadvantage against the A321 let alone the NEO.

            I think it tells us a lot about what Boeing is not going to do and that is replace the 737.

  5. I think the 737-8 and 789 are not on the Boeing Planes nobody wants list.

    • New aircraft that have no rational explanation, A319neo, A330-800, 777-8. All will probably deliver less than 50 aircraft, so why build them?

      In spite of the fact that the A350-1000 and the 787-10 sales have been slow, I’d imagine 1,000 and 500 deliveries for those respectively.

      • As explained above, the A319neo will be the basis for the Airbus ACJ going forward, just as they A330-800 will be the basis for the A330F and tanker models.

        If airlines want to order a few, Airbus will build them.

  6. Hawaiian isnt going to be flying non stop to Europe, the distance of around 11500-12000km isnt an issue for a 330 neo, its because they serve a holiday market the cost of fuel loading to go non stop cant be returned by the fares they can get. Business traffic is different. European travellors have a large choice of sun-surf destinations that would mean its very difficult to add another which is even longer non stop.

    • A rather succinct response, the single most extreme example of a programme that must be continued with and that most be binned. The A380 disappearing would signal fundamental change in the mindset of the whole industry.

  7. Planes no one wants are just like a motor car manufacturer who list models no one buys. These are basic models with few features that are soley listed as ‘price leaders’ Its a psychology thing to get buyers going for their mid range models you have to list an undesirable model at a lessor price.
    While new planes are as much less an emotional buy, it still helps from a sales point of view to be able to offer a cheaper plane that is less desirable. Airlines and leasors are allways pushing down on price and the manufacturers have researched the airlines routes and fares to see how high a price they can charge, an unwanted model serves as a backstop. As well they are competing with the other manufacturer and the price is variable around their ‘unwanted model’.
    Boeing is doing a cunning ploy with Airbus by offering the Max 10 to make sure Airbus doesnt have total freedom to get a high price fors its A321 neo. The same happened with the stretched max7, to more closely match the A320 in price and allow a premium for the larger Max8.

    • Sorry but I don’t see Boeing offering the 737-10 MAX in 2017 as cunning. 3 years ago, before Airbus got all of their A321 NEO orders, it might have been cunning. Now it seems more like a stopgap, hail Mary, we don’t have much other choice type of deal.

      Granted, they don’t have much choice until the engine technology advances to such a degree as to make a clean sheet design feasible.

        • I think where I differ is that both 737 and A320 are mature paid for and therefore low cost on the same basic level with each other.

          787 vs A330NEO is not, one cost a lot more.

          While the A320 and 737/7 and 8 are pretty much a wash, its the A321 with much better range now and improved efficiency vs a less capable and more costly (at leas to build) -10 and they have to mod the gear to make it work.

          The stretch is no big deal but the gear mod is not cheap.

          That stacks on top of the lower cost NEO vs the much more costly upgrades to keep the 737 competitive with the MAX which was not just engines but a lot of airframe changes.

          • If Boeing could have made the 737 support an 81 inch geared turbofan, then they would have done it. But they couldn’t, so they failed. As a result, the 737-10 Max is just another asthmatic “Wheezer” that Boeing is introducing in hopes to compete with the A320/321NEO. Boeing’s 737 engines are inferior to Airbus’ A320 Engines and always will be inferior to the A320 Engines.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *