The decision by Ethihad to reduce its order is a major setback for the A350-1000 program. Airbus had positioned the A350-1000 to compete against Boeing's 777. Every year, Airbus competes with Boeing for aircraft orders. The aircraft manufacturers offer models that are slightly bigger or smaller than the other, filling any gaps in aircraft demand.
Two largest A350 customers, Emirates and Qatar Airways, have recently expressed some dissatisfaction with the design of the aircraft. Currently, Airbus has 62 orders for the A350-1000s. If Etihad Airways reduces its order again or cancel it, this may affect the A350-1000 program. Etihad Airways indicated that it might adjust its orders in the future, subject to industry outlook and its fleet requirements.
In a separate development, Etihad Airways has expressed interest in the proposed Boeing 777X. In a statement, James Hogan, Etihad Airways chief executive said:
We're still taking A350-1000s, but we took the view that the delivery could be at risk, so we changed the orders and built up the 787 order.