Delta Air Lines will not take delivery of the Boeing 787 Dreamliners it had on order; that order is now dead. The carrier had an open order for 18 of the type since its acquisition of Northwest Airlines in 2008. No one reasonably has expected that the planes would ever be delivered. In 2010 the order was deferred to at least 2020 and the writing was on the wall at that point, though keeping it on the books was nominally good for Boeing. But at this point scrubbing it shouldn’t really affect much.
Northwest placed the order in 2005 and was expected to be the North American launch customer of the type. Continental ordered its 787s before Northwest but had later delivery slots. Eventually United Airlines took the planes it inherited via the Continental order and became the US launch customer.
As for the Delta fleet, long-haul replacement and growth is coming in the form of A330s and A350s from Airbus. The company is also continuing to take delivery of new 737-900ERs through 2019 and has a sizable order for the Bombardier CSeries. With the Airbus order in place the 787s simply did not fit in Delta’s fleet and the small order size for the –8, the smallest of the 787s, made very little sense for the company.
Still, it is slightly surprising to me that the order is being killed off completely. Keeping it on the books this long didn’t seem to matter much to either company. It was held open largely to give Delta options for converting the order to other Boeing aircraft in the future. Apparently that’s not going to happen. Terms of the contract termination were not disclosed. Any penalty must have been negotiated to a small enough amount that it was easier to just cancel than play the charade any longer.
Plus, it is the end of the year and cleaning out the dusty corners to be ready for 2017 probably isn’t a bad idea.
Header Image: Rendering of a Northwest 787-8 from Boeing
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