Qantas Slashes 787-9 Order, Delays Deliveries

 - June 26, 2009, 6:02 AM

The Qantas Group has reduced its firm order for 65 Boeing 787-9s by 15 airplanes, delayed first delivery of the type by three years and suspended delivery of its order for fifteen 787-8s for four years, the Australian flag carrier said in a statement today. Still the biggest customer for the delay-plagued Dreamliner with total orders for 50 of the jets, Qantas insists that the most recent delay to the 787’s first flight did not influence its decision. As of June 23 Boeing had lost firm orders for 58 Dreamliners this year and added orders for just 13, resulting in a backlog of 866 airplanes.

Qantas CEO Alan Joyce said the changes “were appropriate in the current climate” and that discussions with Boeing had started months ago, well before Boeing knew about the side-of-body stress problem that forced it to scrap plans for first flight by the end of this month.

“Qantas announced its original B787 order in December 2005, and the operating environment for the world’s airlines has clearly changed dramatically since then,” said Joyce. “The agreement we have reached with Boeing will provide greater certainty going forward in terms of our fleet renewal and growth strategies as well as broader resource planning and matching capacity with demand. It will also allow Qantas to manage capital investment more effectively while still delivering an aircraft that offers sound prospects for our flying businesses and our customers.”

With the changes, the first of Qantas Group’s order for 15 B787-9s, which it had allocated to its Jetstar subsidiary for international services, will arrive in mid-2013, around three years later than planned. Under the new delivery plan, 15 B787-8s will start arriving in the fourth quarter of 2014 for Qantas’ domestic operations as it retires the remainder of its 767-300 fleet. The remaining deliveries, consisting of 20 B787-9s for both Qantas and Jetstar international operations, will take place from the fourth quarter of 2015 into 2017.

Based on current list prices, Qantas’ cancellation of 15 B787-9s will cut the group’s aircraft capital expenditure by $3 billion.

“Delaying delivery, and reducing overall B787 capacity, is prudent, while still enabling Qantas and Jetstar to take advantage of growth opportunities and market demands, both domestically and internationally,” concluded Joyce.