Air Pacific, the national airline of Fiji in which Qantas holds a 46% stake, has reportedly cancelled its orders for five Boeing 787 aircraft for 2011 delivery.
The 787 programme narrowly avoided delays from regulators when the US goverment shutdown -- which would have meant FAA inspectors downing tools, resulting in delayed certification of the 787 as fit to fly -- was postponed over the weekend.
But the removal of five aircraft scheduled for early delivery to Air Pacific could be good news for Australian business travellers, and particularly for Qantas and Jetstar passengers.
Assuming no further delays to the 787 programme, Boeing can now move other customers further up the list. Of course, Qantas may well have done a deal with Boeing behind closed doors to take all the early slots for itself -- or for subsidiary Jetstar.
That could mean that Qantas would replace its elderly and increasingly unreliable Boeing 767 planes earlier in 2012, which should improve reliability on high-traffic routes within Australia.
Jetstar may also be able to expand its international network earlier than expected, potentially to Europe and the USA.
Across the Tasman, Auckland might well see United's new 787s earlier too, providing a link between New Zealand's main airport and United's (ex-Continental) hub in Houston.
About John Walton
Aviation journalist and travel columnist John took his first long-haul flight when he was eight weeks old and hasn't looked back since. Well, except when facing rearwards in business class.