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Qantas cuts Dreamliner order to 14

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AAP

2013-01-18

Qantas has cut its order for Boeing 787 Dreamliners for its Jetstar subsidiary as the low-cost carrier prepares for slower growth on its long-haul routes.

Qantas was planning to replace 11 widebodied Airbus A330s in the Jetstar fleet with 15 Dreamliners, but has trimmed its order to 14.

The airline insists the move is unrelated to recent troubles affecting Dreamliner fleets, which have been grounded by US and Japanese airlines while technical problems are investigated.

Jetstar is still expected to pick up its first Dreamliner later this year.

Qantas chief executive Alan Joyce said plans for Jetstar to continue growing hadn't changed.

"While the plan is for Jetstar's long haul network to keep expanding we are using the flexibility in our agreement with Boeing to cancel a firm order knowing that we can replace it with one of our 50 options for this aircraft down the track, and with a full view of what market conditions are like at the time," Mr Joyce said in a statement on Friday.

With Qantas' 50 options to purchase Boeing 787-8 and the larger 787-9 aircraft from 2016, it could still put a 15th Dreamliner in the Jetstar fleet if it wished to and if conditions supported more growth at Jetstar.

The decision to reduce its 787 order was made late in 2012, Qantas said, before the Dreamliner's grounding by regulators in the US on Thursday and an investigation into the aircraft's lithium ion battery.

Mr Joyce said Qantas remained firmly committed to the Dreamliner and was confident current technical issues would be resolved by Boeing.

Meanwhile, Qantas said it was leasing a further five Boeing 717 aircraft and Bombardier Q400 turboprops, due to arrive in the second half of 2013, to support more regional flying.

Qantas said the changes would have no impact on the company's planned capital expenditure, expected to be $1.8 billion in 2012/13 and $1.9 billion in 2013/14.