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Airlines flock to Boeing for damages

Wellington, April 10, 2008

Airlines lined up on Thursday for compensation after Boeing Company announced a further six-month delay for its new 787 Dreamliner plane.

Air New Zealand, Air India and Japan's two big carriers were among those eyeing redress along with Virgin.

The US plane maker announced the third major delay for the revolutionary plane on Wednesday, promising first delivery in the third quarter of 2009, more than a year after the original target of May this year - with an indefinite delay for a short-range model favoured by the Japanese carriers.

Air New Zealand and Air India said they would seek compensation. All Nippon Airways (ANA), due to get the first 787 off the assembly line, and Japan Airlines said they planned claims after assessing the impact.

Virgin said on Thursday it was in compensation talks with Boeing over an order for 15 of the planes. Australia's Qantas, the plane's second-biggest buyer ordering 65 planes, said it had already put in a claim for redress after previous delays and was due substantial damages.

More than 50 airlines are waiting for 892 Boeing 787s, worth a combined $145 billion at list prices. Bahrain's Gulf Air, which has ordered 16 of the 787s, said it was unaffected by the delay as it is not due to take delivery until 2016.

"There is a clause in the contract that says we could receive compensation if there are delays, but it's too early to talk about that," said Adnan Malek, acting head of communications.

Other Middle East buyers of the 787 include Qatar Airways, Kuwait Aviation Lease and Finance Co and state-owned Dubai Aerospace Enterprise. Updesh Kapur, a spokesman at Qatar Airways - which has 30 firm orders and 30 options for the 787 - could not immediately comment.

Northwest Airlines Corp said it would fly older planes for longer, while waiting for Boeing to address problems with the carbon-composite Dreamliner, which the Chicago-based firm had touted as a breakthrough that would change aviation.

Despite the problems, Boeing shares jumped 4.8 per cent on Wednesday and shares in most of its US parts suppliers for the airliner also rose, with the delay much shorter than Wall street had expected.

Japan Airlines and ANA, the two customers for a shorter-range 787-3 variant of the Dreamliner, will be among those waiting longest for their orders to be filled.

Boeing indefinitely delayed deliveries of the 787-3 model, saying it would focus on the standard 787-8 and then a larger, stretched 787-9 variant.-Reuters




Tags: Boeing | Dreamliner | Airlines | Delay | damages |

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