SEATTLE — Troubled Australian airline Qantas announced this week it has canceled firm orders for 35 Boeing 787-9 Dreamliners.
SC’s 1st 787 flies again
The first Boeing 787 Dreamliner assembled in South Carolina took to the skies again Thursday, at least its seventh time aloft since rolling out of the North Charleston factory this spring.According to the flight-tracking website Flight Aware, the plane took off at 10:41 a.m. and flew into Alabama airspace, looping back through northwest South Carolina and landing at Charleston International Airport at 12:12 p.m. But another flight pattern for the plane on the same site showed it leaving from Greenville at 12:31 p.m. and arriving at Charleston International at 1:17 p.m. Candy Eslinger, spokeswoman for the local factory, said only that it was a “successful flight” and “part of the normal customer acceptance process, which is one of the many steps prior to delivery.” Like two Everett, Wash.-made Dreamliners also parked on the local campus flight line, the plane is painted in Air India’s red-and-gold livery and is ready for delivery. The troubled South Asian carrier was supposed to take the jet in June, but now the delivery schedule is unclear. Brendan Kearney
Those jets are worth $8.5 billion at list prices, though according to market data provided by aircraft valuation firm Avitas their true value after typical discounts is about $4.6 billion.
The Qantas announcement followed its disclosure of a $256 million loss for the year ended June 30.
Qantas softened the blow to Boeing by stating that it will retain, and bring forward by two years, purchase rights and options for 50 787-9s. If those purchase rights are converted later into firm orders, they would start delivery in 2016. But even then, that would be a two-year delay compared to the previously planned first delivery of the 787-9 to Qantas.
“The B787 is an excellent aircraft and remains an important part of our future,” Qantas chief executive Alan Joyce said in a statement Wednesday. “However, circumstances have changed significantly since our order several years ago.”
The airline still has an order for 15 of the original Dreamliner model, the 787-8, on its books. Joyce said those jets will begin delivery in the second half of next year and will be operated by Qantas subsidiary Jetstar for intra-Asia regional air travel.
Boeing has not yet made its first 787-9. Also, the company has not said whether it will assemble the extended version of the Dreamliner at one or both of its two 787 factories — one is in North Charleston and the other is outside Seattle. At Qantas, the larger 787-9s are intended for long-range, international flights.
The Post and Courier contributed to this report.