Finnair has signed a firm contract to buy 11 Airbus A350XWB planes.
Finnair has signed a firm contract to buy 11 Airbus A350XWB planes. This makes it the first airline in the world to convert an order for the original A350 into a firm order for the revamped A350XWB.
"We are particularly honoured by this mark of confidence from Finnair, one of Europe's major airlines," said John Leahy, chief operating officer, customers, Airbus. "It is an endorsement of the new A350XWB programme."
The A350XWB, one of a new breed of lightweight fuel-efficient planes, is due to come to market in 2012. The plane was originally unveiled as the A350, but has undergone comprehensive design changes, and been renamed, after a lukewarm customer reaction to the initial design.
Airbus is currently waiting to see whether or not Qatar Airways will convert an order for more than 50 units of the original A350 into a firm order for the A350XWB. Emirates Airline is also considering whether to place an order for around 100 A350XWBs or go for Boeing's rival 787.
Airbus is currently in a dispute with trade unions over plans to shed thousands of jobs. This follows a two-year delay in the launch of the A380, its next generation ‘superjumbo' plane.