Delta cancels order for 18 Boeing 787 aircraft

Delta Air Lines has cancelled its order for 18 Boeing 787-8 aircraft, a commitment that it assumed from Northwest Airlines following the 2008 merger of the two companies, the company said.

The company said the move is not unexpected since it chose the Airbus A350-900 for its next generation widebody fleet over the 787-9 in November 2014. At the time, executives said they maintained the 787-8 order but preferred the abilities of the -9 over its smaller sibling.

The airline said it plans to take the first of 25 A350-900s in the second half of 2017. The aircraft will replace aging Boeing 747-400s to 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.

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 200 orders short of its book-to-bill ratio target of one.