April 9, 2018, © Leeham News: Even as Airbus touted the new 251t A330-800 and optimism that aging A330-200s will kick start a replacement cycle in 2020-21, the
concurrent loss of a campaign to sell the model to American Airlines casts a shadow over the model and the entire program.
Airbus had just come off the cancellation of the only A330-800 order, by Hawaiian Airlines, which flipped to the Boeing 787-9. As the sole customer for six A330-800s, the cancellation was expected.
Airbus hoped that an American order, for 20 -800s, would prove to be the endorsement of the program that was needed to spur worldwide sales.
Boeing was just as adamant that, like Hawaiian, American order the 787. In this case, Boeing had the leg up: the 787 was already in AA’s fleet (37 of 42 previous orders were already delivered). American wanted to simplify its fleet, not add another type. And airline officials were skeptical of the -800 for the very reason Airbus was so in need of AA’s order.