Air Berlin drops 10 787s from order

By Michelle Dunlop Herald Writer

EVERETT — Air Berlin has slashed its order for Boeing Co. 787 jets by 10 planes, worth about $1.7 billion, because of weak air traffic demand, the airline said Tuesday.

Germany’s second-largest carrier reached an agreement with Boeing to reduce its request for 787s to 15 from 25, according to a statement posted Tuesday on Air Berlin’s Web site. The 10 Dreamliners are worth about $1.7 billion at list prices, though carriers rarely pay full price. The airline also reduced the number of options it has for purchasing additional 787 jets to five from 10.

Boeing, which is two years behind schedule in delivering its fuel-efficient 787 jet, received more than 80 cancellations for the 787 in 2009. But Air Berlin said its decision to cancel is based on market conditions rather than 787 delays.

“With a partnership spirit we have mutually agreed with Boeing to adjust the Air Berlin order book to meet Air Berlin’s operational requirements and the market conditions,” said Ulf Hüttmeyer, Air Berlin’s CFO, in the statement. “The agreement with Boeing demonstrates that Air Berlin believes in the future of the 787 aircraft.”

Boeing will begin delivering Air Berlin’s 787s in November 2015. The jet maker plans to deliver its first 787 later this year to Japan’s All Nippon Airways. With the Air Berlin cancelation, Boeing has about 866 orders for its 787.

Air Berlin also deferred deliveries of nine Boeing 737s to 2015. The aircraft were originally scheduled for delivery in 2010 and 2011.

Boeing’s stock declined 1 percent on Tuesday to close at $68.72.