Both United and American Airlines, two titans of the US airline industry, are delaying or switching orders of B787 Dreamliners, Boeing’s much-vaunted fuel-efficient aircraft made largely of lightweight carbon composite.
Firstly United (technically known as United Continental Holdings) said it had decided to re-jig an order to take 10 B777-300ER jets instead of B787s.
United already has several B787s, and executives say that although they like the plane, the larger B777 is better suited to some routes, the Herald Business Journal of Everett, Washington, reported.
Boeing conceded that the needs of airlines constantly fluctuate and it was pleased that United chose the B777-300ER.
Then American Airlines said it would delay delivery of five B787s because demand for international travel appeared to be slowing. Accordingly, American has decided to take the planes in 2017 and 2018 instead of in 2016.
American took delivery of its third B787 last week but has not yet deployed them on passenger flights. American plans to put the first one into service next month on flights between Dallas and Chicago, then start to deploy them on international routes from June.
Boeing is still losing money on the jet, the Herald Business Journal noted, but the plane manufacturer hopes to start breaking even on each delivery later this year.
Written by Peter Needham