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Delta cancels legacy Northwest 787 order

Delta Air Lines has cancelled its order for 18 Boeing 787-8 aircraft, a commitment that it assumed from Northwest Airlines when the two merged in 2008.

The move has been expected since the Atlanta-based carrier chose the Airbus A350-900 for its next generation widebody fleet over the 787-9 in November 2014. At the time, executives said that they maintained the 787-8 order but preferred the abilities of the -9 over its smaller sibling.

“This business decision is consistent with Delta’s fleet strategy to prudently address our widebody aircraft needs,” says Greg May, senior vice-president of supply chain management and fleet at Delta, in a statement.

The airline will take its first of 25 A350-900s in the second half of 2017. The aircraft will replace ageing Boeing 747-400s and initially operate on Delta’s routes to Asia.

Delta maintains its orders for the Boeing 737-900ER and will have 120 in its fleet by 2019. It said in previous securities filings that it had the option to convert the 787s to 737s.

In 2010, Delta deferred the delivery of the 18 787s to 2020 through 2022.

The cancellation will decrease Boeing’s net order tally for 2016. As of 20 December, the airframer reported 470 net orders for the year, which was about 200 orders short of its book-to-bill ratio target of one.

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