Delta Cancels Inherited Order of Boeing Dreamliners

Delta Air Lines cancelled an order of 19 Boeing Dreamliner jets that are valued at over $4 billion, a commitment it inherited during a merger with Northwest Airlines in 2008.

Delta, based in Atlanta, Georgia, came to an agreement with the aircraft maker without the disclosure of any terms according to a prepared statement released by the air carrier on Tuesday.

The airline will keep the orders that are in progress already for 120 Boeing 737 aircraft. The Dreamliners were on the order books for Delta since the deal with Northwest.

A senior vice president at Delta said the decision made by the airline was consistent with the fleet strategy for Delta to address prudently its needs for wide body aircraft.

Delta’s decision was predicted. While some pilots at Northwest called the 787 a star, known for fuel efficiency and a body designed out of composite materials, some of the 777 aircraft had close to the same overall capabilities, said an industry consultant.

In addition, Delta usually flies larger planes on average than does its peers, and the bigger 777 fits into its strategy better than does the 787.

Airlines in the U.S. have been either deferring or canceling wide body jet orders. The wide body jets are long-haul aircraft with two aisles. Earlier in 2016, Delta deferred the acquisition of four Airbus A350s for 2 and 3 years rather than the originally scheduled delivery of 2018.

American Airlines also said in 2016 that it would take an order of 22 Airbus A350s on average 26 months later than originally planned to lower its capital expenses.

Delta has orders for wide body aircraft including 25 A350s as well as 25 other smaller A330neo jets. The 787s are listed at a price of over $224.5 million though large discounts have become customary for the major airlines.

A Boeing spokesperson said the company has been working together with Delta as the airlines’ needs evolved since it inherited the aircraft order that had been place by Northwest prior to a merger.

Delta, said the spokesperson for Boeing, remained a valued client and Boeing is continuing to work with the airline to meet its future requirements for its fleet of aircraft.

Customer interest in its 787 remains strong, with nearly 1,200 orders for the large aircraft to date, said the Boeing spokesperson.

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