787 delay could prompt LOT to switch to Airbus

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LOT Polish Airlines has warned that it is considering an offer to switch to Airbus in the wake of the delays to its Boeing 787 order.

The Polish flag carrier originally ordered up to 14 Rolls-Royce Trent 1000-powered Dreamliners in 2005, with deliveries set to begin in autumn 2008. The deal to replace the airline's four 767s followed a hard-fought evaluation involving Airbus.

However, after the latest delay, 787 launch customer All Nippon Airways is not due to receive its first Dreamliners until late 2010. Deliveries to LOT, which is the 787's European launch customer, are due to start around six months later, meaning it will not receive its first 787 until May 2011, says Sebastian Mikosz, who is president of the airline's management board.

Mikosz, who says that the 787 is "crucial" for LOT's development, is preparing to start discussions with Boeing about various compensation options, but does not rule out a switch to Airbus. "I plan to talk with Boeing in the autumn," he says. "We will suggest some options - it could be switching to the 777 or overhauling our 767s. Accepting an offer from Airbus is possible."

Meanwhile, LOT has taken the 600th Embraer E-Jet delivery, an E-175. The new aircraft - the first of a new batch of 12 ordered in 2007 - arrived on 2 September from Embraer's plant in São José dos Campos and has now been put into service.