Delay in delivery of Boeing 787 Dreamliner planes hits Air Canada’s expansion plans

Monday, June 2, 2008, 16:46 by Aviation Correspondent

The ambitious plans of Air Canada to renew its fleet has run into rough weather with aircraft maker Boeing Company, based in Chicago, the United States, saying that it will deliver the first Boeing 787 Dreamliner aircraft to the airline at least 2 years later than originally promised. Following the delay, Air Canada, the largest airline and flag carrier of Canada, is now compelled to keep flying, for at least another 2 years, its fleet of older, less fuel-efficient planes even as high fuel prices are landing airlines worldwide in huge losses, the website financialpost.com reports. Update: Boeing Dreamliner test flight possible in Dec 2009

Air Canada has firm orders for 37 Dreamliner planes and options to buy another 23 of the planes. It had expected delivery of the Dreamliner 787s to begin in early 2010, but the postponement until January 2012 has forced the airline to cut back on its global growth strategy.

The website quoted Montie Brewer, chief executive of Air Canada, as saying that the airline would seek compensation for the delays, but did not make it clear whether it would seek redress in the form of cash, a discount on pricing or something else. “We were counting on these aircraft,” Brewer told reporters, “especially in an environment with high fuel prices.”

Air Canada, based in Montreal, was hoping to take delivery of its 37 Boeing 787s between 2010 and 2014, but now the delivery of the first plane to the airline is not expected until January 2012.

In April 2008, Boeing Company had put off the delivery date of the 787 Dreamliner aircraft for a third time after problems in its supply chain and final assembly continued.

Boeing now plans to deliver the first Dreamliner aircraft in the third quarter of 2009, which is 15 months behind schedule, the website said, and quoted Yvonne Leach, a spokeswoman for Boeing, as saying: “Most of the 60-plus customers of Dreamliner 787 will be affected by the delays – on an average by 20 months – now that the Boeing expects a slower ramp-up in production.”

Other airlines, besides Air Canada, affected by Boeing’s delay in delivery of Dreamliner 787 include All Nippon Airways, Japan Airlines, Air-India, Air New Zealand and Qantas Airways. And, all of them have decided to seek compensation from the company.

According to Boeing Company, “the cutting-edge technology and lighter composite parts of the Dreamliner 787 promise 30% fuel savings for its owners.”  Boeing also claims that the 787 is a as a state-of-the-art plane that uses lighter composite materials, while offering roomier seats and aisles wider than older long-range models.

Air Canada, the website financialpost.com says, is intending to make the Dreamliner 787 aircraft the showpiece of the airline’s renewal plans, which include the 45 Embraer 190 aircraft already in its fleet and the 18 new Boeing 777 planes it plans to obtain by 2009.