Qantas cancels order for 35 Boeing 787-9 jets

Michelle Dunlop Herald Writer

Australia’s Qantas has canceled an order for 35 Boeing Co. 787-9 aircraft, according to a statement issued by the airline on Wednesday.

The cancellation is part of Qantas’ five-year turnaround plan, the airline said.

The 787 “is an excellent aircraft and remains an important part of our future,” Alan Joyce, Qantas Group CEO, said in a statement. “However, circumstances have changed significantly since our order several years ago. It is vital that we allocate capital carefully.”

Qantas initially placed the order for 35 787-9s in 2006, according to Boeing’s website. The airline will retain options for 50 787-9s. Qantas’ order for 15 787-8s remains unchanged, the carrier said.

In a statement, Boeing called Qantas a long-standing and valued customer.

“We appreciate the airline’s full confidence in the 787 Dreamliner with 15 firm orders for 787-8s and options / purchase rights for 50 787-9s,” Boeing said. “We stand ready to serve them with 787-9s to meet their long-haul fleet needs into the future.”

Boeing was more than three years late in delivering on the 787-8, forcing the aerospace giant to push back deliveries of the larger 787-9 as well. The first 787-9 is expected to be delivered in early 2014.

Boeing’s mostly composite 787-8 seats between 210 to 250 passengers. The 787-9 can carry 250 to 290 people.

In other 787 news, Flightglobal reported Wednesday that South American carrier LAN will receive its first Boeing 787-8 on Aug. 31. LAN will be the first 787 operator in South America and only the fourth airline to receive a Dreamliner.

Boeing has delivered 787-8s to Japan’s All Nippon Airways, Japan Airlines and Ethiopian Airlines. The company has five 787s sitting outside its North Charleston, S.C. site, reports The Post and Courier. Those jets will go to Air India, which has yet to pick up the 787s due to a pilots’ strike and other troubles.