Air Italy has postponed plans to purchase Boeing 787s in favour of European-made Airbus A330s, Rossen Dimitrov, the airline's chief operating officer, told the Aviation Analyst media outlet.
“Because of the delay in Boeing 787 Dreamliner deliveries, we have decided to expand the fleet with Airbus A330s instead. We will add more A330s this year, and next year too”, Dimitrov said.
He added that the goal is to bolster “the ongoing dynamic growth of Air Italy and to provide maximum synergy with the operational requirements of the airline […] and to support our growth plans for long-haul operations and to fit in with our existing new fleet”.
At the same time, Dimitrov made it clear that his company is “looking forward to taking delivery of the B787s when they are available and as per our business requirements”.
His remarks come a few weeks after Boeing's second-largest civilian client, Flydubai, announced that it is considering ditching its planned procurement of 250 737 MAXs, another new Boeing model, in favour of rival Airbus A320 Neos.
Flydubai chairman Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum told the The National newspaper that his company had to review such an option in light of the global grounding of the 737s over safety concerns.
He spoke amid the ongoing investigations into two deadly incidents related to the passenger jet.
In October 2018, a Lion Air flight catastrophe in Indonesia claimed the lives of all 181 people on board, while in March of this year, 157 people died in a crash near the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa.
At least 300 Boeing 737s were grounded worldwide following these crashes. A preliminary probe into the cause of the incidents reportedly discovered that the jets' anti-stall system might have been to blame.
Like Boeing’s 737 Max planes, the 787 Dreamliner also has a spotty safety record.
Boeing’s website meanwhile reports that the current backlog for the 787s is 624 aircraft out of the 1441 that have been ordered.
The 787 Dreamliner is a family of long-range and fuel-efficient commercial airplanes which entered service in 2011 and is capable of carrying up to 242 passengers.