Qantas cancels order for 35 Dreamliners

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Qantas has cancelled an order for 35 Boeing 787-9 aircraft to reduce capital expenditure.

Deliveries of 15 787-8s to Jetstar, its low-cost subsidiary, will continue as planned, adds Australia's flag carrier.

The 787-8s will allow the transfer of Airbus A330s from Jetstar to Qantas Domestic, and the eventual retirement of Qantas's Boeing 767 fleet.

The group will retain and bring forward 50 787-9 options and purchase rights by two years, with the aircraft available for delivery from 2016 if needed.

The Oneworld carrier says that the cancellation will help it to reduce capital expenditure commitments by $8.5 billion.

Total cash inflow from the restructuring will be $433 million, with $355 million coming in the 2012/13 financial year alone. These will result in a net impact on underlying profit before tax (PBT) and statutory PBT of approximately $140 million, to be recognised in the first half of 2012/13, says Qantas.

"Qantas continues to practice disciplined capital management and, in the context of returning Qantas International to profit, this is a prudent decision," says chief executive Alan Joyce.

He adds that Qantas has "always maintained flexibility in its fleet plan and made changes when required".

The carrier says that it has "substantially completed" its fleet renewal programme, with 114 new aircraft delivered over the past four years. The average scheduled passenger fleet age is 8.3 years, the lowest since privatisation in 1995.

Qantas has 12 A380s in service across its long-haul network and will complete the reconfiguration of nine Boeing 747-400s by late 2012. Boeing 737-800s will continue to enter the Qantas Domestic fleet, and A330s will be transferred from Jetstar as the 787-8s are delivered to the low-cost carrier.

Jetstar's domestic and Asian fleet requirements will be met over the long term by the existing A320 order book and the arrival of the 787-8s, says Qantas.