Japan's All Nippon Airways (ANA) has deferred a decision on an order for ultra-large aircraft and is now unlikely to choose between the Airbus A380 and Boeing 747-8 until early next year.
A spokesman confirms that "we are not likely to come to a decision this calendar year". But he adds that "it's not likely to be pushed back too far".
ANA set up an internal committee in July to formally consider whether to order A380s or 747-8s and it followed up around August with a formal request for proposals to Airbus and Boeing. A decision was expected around now.
The two manufacturers had been waiting for years for a Japanese airline to formally consider orders for ultra-large passenger aircraft.
ANA has not said how many aircraft it may be interested in, but industry sources have said it is looking at fewer than 10, and probably somewhere between three and six on firm order.
The carrier has stressed, however, that it may ultimately decide not to place orders for either the A380 or 747-8. Until earlier this year it said it did not see a role for ultra-large aircraft in its fleet.