16 April 2009

Delivery Slots Anyone?

They used to be like gold dust.

I remember in 2007 being at a restaurant in my home town listening to a chap I presume who worked at a local airframe manufacturer boasting that his narrow bodies had no open slots until 2011. Last year slots opened up - in some cases even for the same year delivery. I noted before that the strike may actually have saved Boeing's behind by taking some of the heat and pressure from the production line. Boeing indeed has not ramped up production to quite the same level as it was pre-strike. They took their sweet time.

Still in February some airlines were still taking large numbers of aircraft. Ryanair must have held some sort of record when it took delivery of no less than 8 737s in one month.

Now - any slot on any line is negotiable.

Qantas shook everyone yesterday when it announced a delay not only in A380 positions but also the first 787s which were destined for Jetstar. This time last year QF was hunting for extra capacity. Now it has already cut quite a few 767-300s and 737 Classics.

Unions may wish to take note if they are planning any industrial action in the next 18 months at any manufacturer. It would not really be a wise move.


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