MIAMI — Hawaiian Airlines will become the first U.S. airline to operate the Airbus A330-800neo as it finalized a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Airbus for six A330-800neo aircraft.

The carrier signed the MOU–which would make it the U.S. launch customer–with Airbus after the A330neo program was launched at the Farnborough Air Show which put the A350-800 XWB’s future in doubt as Hawaiian canceled its A350-800 order for the A330neo.

At the start of Farnborough, Airbus had 34 orders for the -800 which was down from 120 orders; over time, carriers switched their orders to the -900 variant. During an interview at Farnborough, Airbus’ CEO, Fabrice Bregier, all but confirmed the demise of the A350-800, but he did note that Airbus would keep the A350-800 on offer so long as orders remained. 

However, Hawaiian’s MOU with Airbus for the six A330neos was its replacement for the A350 orders it placed. For Hawaiian, it would be easier to introduce the A330neo aircraft into its fleet as it already operates 19 A330-200 aircraft and has six A321neo aircraft on order.

“The A330-800neo is an aircraft which meets all of our needs,” said Mark Dunkerley, President and CEO of Hawaiian Airlines. “It is the right size, with the right range and costs, and shares much commonality with our A330-200 fleet. Our customers and crew love the aircraft and we are thrilled that it will continue to be Hawaiian’s widebody mainstay for far into the future.”

“Working with Hawaiian Airlines is a unique pleasure because their team is truly visionary when it comes to choosing aircraft,” said John Leahy, Airbus Chief Operating Officer, Customers. “The A330-800neo is perfectly suited to Hawaiian’s unique route structure, offering a great balance of range and capacity that will allow the airline to expand its reach to new audiences.”

There are still a few carriers such as Aeroflot and Asiana who have the A350-800 XWB on order. It’s not clear whether they will keep the -800 on order, switch to the -900 or order the A330neo. Only time will tell as the number of A350-800 orders continue to decrease.

Hawaiian’s finalized order comes about a month after Delta announced an order for 25 A330-900neo and 25 A350-900 XWB aircraft. Delta plans to utilize the A330-900neo aircraft on its Transatlantic network while Hawaiian will use them to strengthen its Pacific network.