28 Jun 2009

Qantas cancels 15 orders for 787 Dreamliner

10:35 am on 28 June 2009

Qantas Airways Ltd has cancelled and deferred orders for 30 new Boeing 787 Dreamliner planes in a move that will save it billions of dollars amid a slump in demand for air travel.

But Australia's national carrier says it remains committed to the new the carbon fibre jetliner under construction at the US-based Boeing factory - which set back the aircraft's first flight for a fifth time on Tuesday due to a wing problem.

Qantas said it had cancelled orders for 15 of the larger B787-9 Dreamliners, which were scheduled for delivery in 2014 and 2015, saving the carrier $A3.73 billion in capital spending.

It has also deferred the delivery of the first batch of 15 B787-8 Dreamliners by four years.

In April, Qantas deferred the delivery of four superjumbo Airbus A380s.

Qantas chief executive Alan Joyce said on Friday the changes to the group's B787 orders were appropriate in the current climate.

Mr Joyce said discussions with Boeing were not influenced by the manufacturer's announcement this week of a design issue and further delay to the aircraft's first flight.

He said Qantas announced its original B787 order in 2005 and the operating environment for the world's airlines has changed dramatically since then.