Airbus Loses Alitalia A350 Order as Carrier Holds Rescue Talks

Airbus Group NV lost an order from Alitalia SpA last month for 12 A350-800s, the smallest variant of its new wide-body jetliner, as the Italian carrier awaits a possible financial lifeline from Etihad Airways PJSC.

The order was valued at $4.7 billion in 2008, when the accord with Toulouse, France-based Airbus was announced. The purchase was made in the name of Aircraft Purchase Fleet, an entity created to help fund purchases for Air One, which later merged with state-controlled rival Alitalia.

Alitalia, which was bailed out at the end of last year with the support of the Italian government, is in talks with Abu Dhabi carrier Etihad about a possible investment that would help shore up cash reserves. Etihad has been seeking promises of cost cuts before committing to a deal.

Airbus doesn’t generally announce the names of airlines that have dropped orders, though cancellations appear in each monthly tally. The A350-800 is the smallest of three types of the A350, and Airbus has the fewest orders for the type as airlines increasingly gravitate towards the larger models.

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