Delta casts doubt on 787 order

Comments Delta Air Line’s chief financial officer made to investors seem to indicate that the Atlanta-based carrier isn’t interested in flying Boeing’s 787 anytime soon.

CFO Hank Halter told Morgan Stanley investors and analysts that Delta has 1,400 planes in its fleet, since its merger with Northwest Airlines, and it now planes to upgrade its existing planes rather than replace them with new ones. “We believe we can do that at a much more economical cost than re-fleeting an entire section of our aircraft,” he said.

Delta will take delivery of four Boeing planes in early 2010, but after that, “we don’t have anything else,” Halter said.

There’s been a lot of speculation about the 787 deal. Delta inherited the order for 18 787s when it merged with Northwest earlier this year. Northwest had been the first North American carrier to order the Dreamliner, back in 2005. The deal was worth $2.2 billion at list prices, although after discounts, Northwest probably was on the hook for closer to $1.7 billion.

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