June 27, 2009

Qantas: Economy forced cancellations

A sour economy, not problems at Boeing, caused Qantas to cancel orders for 15 Boeing 787 Dreamliners, Qantas chief executive Alan Joyce said.

Qantas this week cuts its order of Dreamliners from 65 to 50 and deferred delivery of the first group of Dreamliners by four years.

Qantas announced its original B787 order in December 2005, and the operating environment for the world's airlines has clearly changed dramatically since then, Joyce told The Independent in a story published Saturday.

The move to cut the airline's spending by about $3.7 billion during the next four years is a blow for Boeing, which counts Qantas as its biggest customer for the more fuel-efficient Dreamliner, The Sydney Morning Herald reported Saturday.

The Dreamliner B787's maiden flight was postponed this week for a fifth time so a side section of the 50 percent plastic composite fuselage could be reinforced, Britain's Independent reported Saturday.

The slump in the travel industry previously forced Qantas to delay the delivery of four Airbus super jumbo A380s for up to a year and 12 Boeing 737-800s for about 14 months, Joyce said.