US Airways is the latest US carrier to secure financing to weather economic uncertainty while also deferring 54 Airbus narrowbody and widebody deliveries scheduled from 2010 to 2012.

Those aircraft are now scheduled for delivery from 2013 and beyond. Additionally, the carrier has pushed back the launch of A350 operations from 2015 to 2017.

US Airways estimates that by deferring the aircraft it will cut capital expenditures during the next three years by $2.5 billion, and also eliminates the need for the carrier to secure aircraft financing in 2010. The deferrals also reduce near- and medium-term obligations to support aircraft deliveries by roughly $132 million.

"With the economic recession, borrowing has become much less available and much more expensive," carrier management tells employees in an update outlining the latest deferrals.

In total the carrier next year plans to take delivery of two Airbus A320s and two A330s and 24 A320s in 2011 and 2012.

US Airways is cutting A320 deliveries in 2010 from 18 to 2, from 30 to 12 in 2011 and from 24 to 12 in 2012. Its A330 deliveries for 2010 will fall from an original count of 7 to two, while three deliveries in 2011 are being pushed back to 2013 and beyond.

The refined narrowbody schedule shows 16 narrowbody deliveries in 2013 versus no deliveries previously planned for that year. In 2014 the carrier's planned narrowbody deliveries will rise from zero to 18 followed by an increase from zero to 12 deliveries in 2015.

US Airways in deferring the widebodies will now take delivery of five aircraft in 2013, also up from zero planned deliveries and three aircraft in 2014 compared with the previous schedule that showed no planned deliveries.

US Airways has also secured $95 million in new loans and $180 million in aircraft financing commitments, and reached a deal with its affinity card provider Barclays to permanently lower its monthly unrestricted cash obligations for the purchase of frequent flyer miles. Prior to the amended agreement US Airways' deal with Barclays required cash balances of $1.5 billion.

The carrier and Barclays also agreed to defer by 14 months the repayment of $200 million in connection with the advanced purchase of miles.

US Airways estimates these transactions should improve its liquidity by $150 million by the end of 2009 and by $450 million in aggregate by year-end 2010.

Carrier CEO Doug Parker highlights this is third strategic move by US Airways in 100 days following its slot swap transaction with Delta Air Lines at New York's LaGuardia airport and Washington National, and a network realignment to focus on the carrier's Charlotte, Philadelphia and Phoenix hubs and its focus of Washington, DC.

"These moves are part of our continuing efforts to improve our balance sheet and return the company to profitability," says Parker.

Source: Air Transport Intelligence news