Qantas planning for 787 delays: Joyce

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Qantas chief executive Alan Joyce has hinted that there may be a delay in delivery of the first Boeing 787-8s for its budget unit Jetstar.

Jetstar plans to take delivery of its first 787s in August, with the aircraft to replace 11 Airbus A330-200s that will be returned to Qantas.

However Joyce told The Australian newspaper that while Boeing has not formally advised of any delays to its 787s, the airline is preparing for such an event.

"We expect that will probably take a bit of a delay, we don't know what that length will be yet," he says.

After the 787s are delivered, Jetstar's A330-200s will be returned to Qantas to replace the parent carrier's 767s, which will be retired.

The global 787 fleet was grounded in January following two incidents involving a Japan Airlines aircraft at Boston's Logan airport and an All Nippon Airways aircraft that made an emergency landing at Takamatsu. In those incidents, the 787 lithium-ion batteries failed and overheated. Investigations have yet to determine the root cause of the issue.

Boeing is working to certify a new battery containment system for the 787 that aims to reduce the risk of the batteries overheating, and eliminate the risk of the batteries starting a fire.

Joyce adds that Qantas wants to make sure that it is "comfortable with that design and that process before we agree to accept it".

Flightglobal Pro data shows that Qantas has orders for 15 787-8s and options for 50 787-9s.