Delta Air Lines has announced that it will defer delivery of its first Boeing 787 until 2020, but maintains that it is still committed to its order of 18 787-8s.
The US$2.2bn (A$2.21bn) order was inherited from Delta’s merger with Northwest Airlines, and instead Delta will focus on extending the life of its Boeing 747-400s which operate on routes to Asia and were to have been replaced by the 787s. Northwest/Delta was originally expected to take delivery of the aircraft between 2008 and 2010, but Delta has now pushed back delivery to between 2020-2022.
While the delay appears to be another blow to the 787 program, it does open up new opportunities for Boeing to market early delivery slots for 787s to new and existing customers. In recent months deferrals on a number of 787-8s has allowed Qantas and Qatar Airways to bring forward delivery of some of their aircraft significantly.