Latin American airline group Avianca now expects delivery of its first Boeing 787-8 in the first week of December, and hopes to put it in commercial service by year-end.

The Star Alliance carrier said earlier this year it would take delivery of the aircraft in September, but certain procedures have held up the delivery, Avianca chief executive Fabio Villegas told Flightglobal at the ALTA Airline Leaders Forum in Nassau today.

Villegas declines to elaborate on what these procedures are, but stresses they have nothing to do with the performance of the aircraft. "They are too boring to go into," he quips.

Avianca hopes to deploy the 787-8 on revenue flights by the end of the year after certification and training in Colombia, he says.

The airline has said previously it will use the aircraft on its routes to London, Madrid and Barcelona, and Villegas says these plans have not changed. "We will essentially be operating the 787 on transatlantic routes that we now fly the A330 on," he says.

Avianca made a return to London Heathrow in July with the Airbus A330, after not operating to the city for more than a decade. The airline flies four times weekly to London but hopes to increase this frequency next summer, says Villegas.

Source: Cirium Dashboard