ANA, Qantas see no big impact from Boeing 787 delay

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TOKYO/SYDNEY, Oct 11 (Reuters) Japan's All Nippon Airways Co (ANA), the first Boeing 787 customer, and Australia's Qantas Airways Ltd said on Thursday a delay in delivery dates for Boeing Co's new Dreamliner aircraft would not have an impact on their operations.

Boeing said on Wednesday that delivery of the first of its new planes would be pushed back at least six months to late November or December 2008.

ANA would not comment on the content of its contract with Boeing, including whether Boeing could be penalised for any delays, but Qantas did not rule out seeking compensation.

Nomura Securities analyst Makoto Murayama said the holdup was unlikely to have a big impact on airliners.

''It will affect everyone, not just ANA, and as a result, there won't be much of a negative impact. ANA planned to replace its older planes and it's just that that would be pushed back six months or a year,'' he said.

''With this, ANA won't lose much because there will be no additional costs, while it can expect some compensation.'' ANA spokesman Shinichi Shinkawa said the airline was studying whether the delay would have any effect on its business.

''For now, we don't expect it to have such a huge impact,'' he said.

Qantas, one of the world's largest buyers of the new plane, said Boeing had assured it that the first of the 15 aircraft scheduled for delivery from August 2008 would still arrive within six months of the original delivery date.

''Boeing said the August 2008 aircraft would slip, but not by six months. Once that aircraft arrives, the remaining 14 aircraft deliveries will be staggered until December 2009,'' Qantas Chief Executive Geoff Dixon said in a statement.

ANA had been hoping to ferry passengers to next summer's Beijing Olympic Games in the first of its planned 50 Boeing 787 Dreamliners.

Boeing said the delay comes as it struggles to assemble the new lightweight, carbon-composite plane.

It is an embarrassing setback for Boeing, which has for months insisted it would meet its delivery timetable despite production problems, and mirrors delays suffered by rival Airbus on its A380 superjumbo.

Dozens of airlines and leasing companies are lining up behind ANA to take delivery of the planes, which will be wider, quicker and more fuel efficient than the 767s they are meant to replace.

The 787 offers thousands of miles in extra range, making direct long-haul routes such as Tokyo to New York easier and cheaper to fly.

Shares of ANA fell 0.4 percent to 463 yen by 0350 GMT, underperforming a 1.3 percent rise on the benchmark Nikkei average Qantas, which in August tipped current year pre-tax earnings to rise 30 percent, said it was not changing its earnings guidance. Its shares were up 0.2 percent at A.96.

REUTERS KR DS1158

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