American Airlines stated its B787 deliveries may be pushed back until 2014, stating the delays were “due to the impact of the overall B787 programme delay on American's delivery positions” (terminalsnow, 22-Jul-2010). The carrier was initially expected to take delivery of the first of 42 B787-9s on order in 2012, with this subsequently pushed back to 2H2013. Under the newly revised schedule, deliveries of the 42 B787-9s on firm order will now take place from 2014 to 2020. Under the original schedule, the last of these aircraft were to be delivered in 2018. The original agreement also included rights to purchase up to 58 more aircraft that would be delivered from 2015 to 2020, with this now pushed back, if purchased, from 2016 to 2022.
American Airlines' B787 deliveries may be pushed back further
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Delta is using its newly minted investment grade status to tap markets for creative ways to fund its hefty pension obligations during the next two to three years. American is also working to ensure pension compensation coverage by lifting its liquidity targets as rules allowing favourable minimum funding contributions expire in 2017.
Each of those airlines is bracing for fairly substantial capital expenditures during 2017, largely driven by aircraft acquisitions, but American, Delta and United have no plans to compromise their balance sheet progress irrationally in order to support fleet revamps.
America's airlines adjust A350 commitments. United's order in doubt as used widebodies draw praise
A desire to cut capex commitments and keep capacity in check has resulted in airlines based in the Americas undertaking comprehensive reviews of their fleets, engaging in early retirement of aircraft and deferrals. A major focus for those airlines as they scrutinise their fleet composition is widebody aircraft.
Due to the production and delivery schedules of the Airbus A350, some airlines in the Americas are opting to defer or transfer their aircraft to their partners. Earlier in 2017 United made the boldest move in declaring it was placing heavy focus on its 35 A350 widebodies on order, and possible alternatives to the aircraft.
United’s decision to consider alternatives for its A350 order is based on an overabundance of used widebody capacity and the favourable economics those aircraft can deliver with respect to ownership costs as lease rates remain soft. Airlines in South America are taking advantage of newly forged financial partnerships to alleviate some of their A350 commitments made during better economic times.