Revised Air Berlin 787 schedule puts first delivery in 2015

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Delivery of Air Berlin's first ordered Boeing 787 has been pushed back to late 2015 following its decision to cancel 10 of the aircraft in its backlog.

Air Berlin states that the decision will ease financial pressure at the airline, adding that the revision follows changes in market conditions and operating requirements.

Its order for up to 35 787-8s, of which 25 were firm, has been cut back to 15 firm airframes plus five options.

In its most recent quarterly financial statements Air Berlin has given the delivery dates of its 787s as 2013-17.

But chief financial officer Ulf Huttmeyer states today that the first delivery will be in November 2015.

It had been planning to lease three 787s from US-based International Lease Finance, originally from 2011, but it has not clarified the status of this agreement.

Nor has Air Berlin clarified the situation with the purchase rights for 15 more 787s which were secured at the time of the Boeing order - an agreement which potentially gave the carrier a total of 50 787s.

Boeing's list prices for the 787 indicate that the 10 aircraft cancelled by Air Berlin are worth $1.6-1.7 billion.

"The agreement means a significant reduction of its financial obligations due to lower and much more distributed investment profile," says Huttmeyer, adding that the cancellation and other adjustments to the order book were "mutually agreed" with Boeing.

Its revised 787 agreement brings the total number of long-haul aircraft closer to that of its current long-haul fleet, comprising 13 Airbus A330s, operated by LTU.

Air Berlin has also pushed back deliveries of nine Boeing 737s, originally due in 2010-11, to 2015.

At the end of its third quarter, in September last year, the carrier had outstanding commitments to 87 Boeing 737-700/800s with deliveries scheduled to run to 2014.