B787 problems force A330 freighter delay

Ongoing production delays of Boeing’s new 787 Dreamliner passenger aircraft is resulting in customers looking to Airbus passenger aircraft as a replacement which is forcing Airbus to postpone production of its freighters. Setbacks in technical development and an eight-week strike by machinists that ended only in November, has pushed delivery of the 787 to two […]


787 A330 Airbus Boeing Dreamliner freighter


Ongoing production delays of Boeing’s new 787 Dreamliner passenger aircraft is resulting in customers looking to Airbus passenger aircraft as a replacement which is forcing Airbus to postpone production of its freighters. Setbacks in technical development and an eight-week strike by machinists that ended only in November, has pushed delivery of the 787 to two years behind schedule, costing Boeing an estimated US$2 billion. But for carriers still needing passenger capacity despite the tough economic conditions, the Airbus A330 with its 15-year-old widebody design is attracting substantial interest as a replacement, according to a Bloomberg report. Airbus decided to accelerate production of the passenger version of the A330 and postpone manufacturing of a cargo variant, Airbus Chief Operating Officer John Leahy told Bloomberg in a telephone interview from Toulouse, France. Singapore Airlines Ltd. is leasing 19 A330s because the Dreamliners it has ordered won¡¯t arrive until at least 2011. Virgin Atlantic Airways Ltd. will get the first of 15 787s in 2013 at best and is considering the A330 to plug the gap. The twin-engine plane is also attracting contracts that might have gone to Airbus¡¯s own A350, a rival to the 787 that won¡¯t enter fleets until 2013 after an earlier version was scrapped, Leahy said. ¡°You¡¯ve got a situation where neither the 787 nor the A350 is on the market, so demand for the A330 is not just its own demand,¡± he said. ¡°We¡¯d expect it to continue selling through 2015 and beyond.¡± Some aircraft leasing companies with contracts for the A330 freighter have been allowed to switch to the passenger version to take advantage of surging demand, Leahy said. Lessors that ordered the cargo plane include US-based Guggenheim Aviation and Air Castle Partners.