Delta filing highlights uncertainty over Northwest 787s

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Delta Air Lines has generated further uncertainty over the Boeing 787 order for Northwest Airlines by not including the type in the detailed firm order commitment in its latest financial filing.

Northwest Airlines ordered 18 of the type and deliveries of the twin-jets had been scheduled for the fourth quarter of 2009, before Boeing disclosed a further delay to the programme last December.

But doubts over the 787 order emerged in December when Delta stated that the combination of Delta's and Northwest's fleets meant there was less pressure for new aircraft to replace the Northwest Boeing 747-400s.

In its latest US Securities and Exchange Commission filing, detailing the carrier's financial results for 2008, Delta has not included the 787s in its firm order table to 2012.

Delta explains the omission as follows: "Boeing has informed us that [it] will be unable to meet the contractual delivery schedule for these aircraft. We are in discussions with Boeing regarding this situation."

Its table of aircraft on option features six 787s for delivery in 2013 and 12 for post-2013 delivery.

In its own full-year 2008 regulatory filing Northwest Airlines excludes the 18 787s from a list of committed expenditure on aircraft for 2009-14.