V Australia delays 777-300ER deliveries

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Virgin Blue's long-haul operation V Australia has delayed delivery of two Boeing 777-300ERs but Virgin Blue has exercised purchase rights for five Boeing 737-800s to replace 737s on lease.

In a statement today to the Australian stock exchange Virgin Blue says V Australia is getting a fourth 777-300ER in this year's third quarter as planned and it is getting another 777-300ER in 2010's second half as planned.

But delivery of two other 777-300ERs, due in 2010, have been delayed to 2011 and 2012, it says.

Boeing does gain something though because Virgin Blue says it has exercised purchase rights for five 737-800s and these new aircraft will replace leased aircraft.

The move to delay 777-300ER deliveries is "a prudent action in the current operating environment and is part of Virgin Blue's ongoing group-wide measures to adjust its business operations to current and forecast trading conditions".

V Australia currently has three 777-300ERS and these are used for services to the USA. The airline, like most international carriers, has experienced a drop in traffic due to the faltering international economy.