Delta continues to evaluate 787 requirement

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Delta Air Lines continues to evaluate what potential role the delayed Boeing 787 will play in its fleet.

The carrier inherited an order for 18 787-8s from Northwest Airlines, with which it merged last year. It later removed, but did not cancel, the order from its delivery planning and entered negotiations with Boeing to revise those schedules.

Of Delta's 18 orders, more than half would have come in the first 50 deliveries, including two of the six flight-test aircraft.

A growing chorus of industry players, including ILFC chairman Steven Udvar-Hazy, have said the initial batch of 787s will not meet the airframer's promised weight specifications.

Asked by ATI if this is a concern to Delta, company VP and treasurer Paul Jacobson said last week at the ISTAT conference in Phoenix that "certainly changes in delivery and specifications" factor into the carrier's discussions with Boeing.

However, he says: "The biggest issue is the context of delayed deliveries."

With the Northwest merger, says Jacobson, Delta's priorities "have changed".

Combining the fleet of Delta and Northwest has diminished the need for previously-planned replacements for the latter carrier, Delta has said in the past.

The carrier now has "a unique opportunity to take a holistic view of the fleet as we bring them together," says Jacobson.