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Qantas cancels one Jetstar Dreamliner

Qantas Airways has cancelled one of the 15 orders it has for Boeing’s 787 aircraft and added eight short-haul planes to its domestic fleet.

The cancellation of the composite-bodied aircraft is the first since regulators in the US and other nations grounded the Dreamliner after an emergency landing this week by one of the planes in Japan. The decision was taken at the end of last year, the company said in an e-mailed statement, and had only now been finalised.

The aircraft, destined for the carrier’s Jetstar budget arm, may not be needed as it examines how much it needs to grow capacity on long-haul routes. Qantas on December 20 won initial antitrust clearance for a deal under which it would collaborate with Emirates on international operations, including the so-called kangaroo route to Europe.

“While the plan is for Jetstar’s long-haul network to keep expanding we are using the flexibility in our agreement with Boeing to cancel a firm order knowing that we can replace it,” Alan Joyce, chief executive officer, said in the statement.

Planes from the remaining 14 firm orders are due to start arriving from July. Qantas, which cancelled 35 787-9s for its main unit in August, retained the 50 purchase options it has for the Dreamliner.

“Qantas is a long-standing and very valued customer and we’re committed to working with them on their evolving fleet needs,” Allison Bone, a Sydney-based spokeswoman for Boeing, said.


Qantas will lease an additional five Boeing 717 aircraft and buy three Bombardier Q400, smaller narrow-body planes used on shorter domestic routes. The Bombardier purchase is valued at about $US98 million, according to a separate release from the Montreal-based manufacturer.

The order changes won’t affect Qantas’s plans to spend $1.8 billion on capital projects this year, the airline said.

The Dreamliner, Boeing’s most advanced jet ever, is facing its biggest crisis since entering commercial service in late 2011 as airlines ground the planes amid safety concerns caused by battery fires.

The Federal Aviation Administration ordered airlines to prove that lithium-ion batteries in the 787 “are safe and in compliance.”

The FAA’s decision to ground the planes is the first such move involving an entire model in 34 years.