Chinese airlines are negotiating with to further delay taking delivery of 787 Dreamliner orders, as they continue cost-cutting initiatives to deal with weak international (not domestic) air travel demand.
A sharp global economic downturn had pushed China’s top three airlines — Air China and China Eastern Airlines — into a combined loss of more than $4 billion in 2008, forcing them to slash their capital expenditures. However, note that the domestic market is booming and those loss figures are being rapidly turned around to the accustomed serious profit figures.
Boeing, the No. 2 plane maker behind Airbus, has also been struggling with a range of supply, manufacturing and design problems, made worse by a two-month strike at its Seattle-area plants last year.
David Wang, president of Boeing’s China operations, said, "All of them have already delayed. It’s a mutual decision, it’s not one-sided. Based on our delay, we could have aircraft for them by the end of next year, but it’s too early for them. Actually they are supposed to get some of the early positions, but they would rather have some of the later positions now."
Chinese carriers, including China Southern Airlines, have ordered nearly 60 Boeing 787 jets, Wang said, adding the Dreamliner is expected to make its first flight by the end of this year with initial delivery expected in the fourth quarter of 2010.
Reuters got no reply on the question as to whether there were any scrapped orders but the general consensus of opinion is delay, yes, cancel, no.