Delta delays 787 Dreamliner

By danwarne, October 29 2010
Delta delays 787 Dreamliner

Delta will squeeze another decade out of its planes and delay its purchase of the Boeing 787 until 2020.

Delta, which codeshares Virgin Blue for domestic legs within Australia and V Australia for international segments, still has a firm order for 18 Dreamliners in with Boeing. However, the planes will not be delivered until 2020 at the earliest.

Meanwhile, Delta will concentrate on refitting its existing longhaul fleet with flat-bed seats, inflight internet and new seatback entertainment for economy customers.

Boeing was to have delivered Delta's first Dreamliner starting in 2008, though it is still yet to ship a single plane to any customer due to its extensive production-line delays.

The news has been reported by different outlets in polar opposite forms, ranging from "Delta effectively ditches Dreamliner order" to "Delta reaffirms Boeing 787 order."

The truth is somewhere in between -- Delta inherited the 787 order when it acquired Northwest Airlines, creating a combined fleet of 1400 aircraft.

Like all American airlines, it has battled challenging financial conditions in recent years, and Chief Financial Officer Hank Halter says the company's existing fleet meets its operational requirements, and can be refitted for better inflight experience at a much lower cost than buying the new 787s in the near future.

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