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Qantas cancels 15 Boeing 787 orders

QANTAS Airways Ltd said yesterday it had canceled orders for 15 Boeing 787s and delayed the delivery of a further 15 aircraft due to turbulent market conditions.

Qantas Chief Executive Alan Joyce said the decision had not been influenced by Boeing's announcement earlier this week of a design issue in the 787 and further delay to the aircraft's first flight. He said discussions with Boeing about the order had started some months ago.

Qantas said it had reached a mutual agreement with Chicago-based Boeing to defer the delivery of 15 Boeing 787-8 aircraft by four years and cancel orders for 15 Boeing 787-9s (which are slightly larger) scheduled for delivery in 2014 and 2015.

Joyce said Qantas remained committed to the 787 as the right choice for the international expansion of Jetstar, its low-cost subsidiary, and as an eventual replacement for Qantas' Boeing 767 fleet.

The 787 is the first commercial jet made mostly of light, sturdy carbon-fiber composites instead of aluminum. Large parts of the plane, such as the fuselage sections and wings, are made in factories around the world and flown in a huge modified 747 to Boeing's widebody plant in the Seattle area, where they are snapped together.

Boeing said on Tuesday it needed to reinforce small areas near the connection of the wings and fuselage before conducting a test flight.

The cancellation of orders for 15 787-9s would reduce the group's aircraft capital expenditure by US$3 billion based on current list prices, Joyce said.


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