German carrier Air Berlin announced Friday morning that it terminated its order with Boeing Co. (NYSE: BA) for 18 of Boeing’s 737s and 15 of its 787 Dreamliners. The airline said the cancelled order was valued at $5 billion, the approximate list price for the 33 jets.
At the end of August, Air Berlin had 20 737s on Boeing’s order book, so we infer that two of the planes were delivered this month. Boeing will release updated orders and deliveries on October 3.
Air Berlin said it is not obligated to pay compensation to Boeing, and that the cancellation “represents a further important step in the gradual harmonisation of the airline’s narrow-body fleet.” The cancellation will also “significantly reduce future capital expenditure … and improve our balance sheet.”
Regarding its “harmonisation” strategy, Air Berlin said it will “adapt the existing fleet to its needs by the acquisition or leasing of suitable aircraft, although at a lower number of aircraft than initially envisaged.” At the end of June 2014, Air Berlin’s fleet included nine Boeing 737-700s and 36 Boeing 737-800s, among a total of 144 aircraft.
The carrier operates 80 Airbus planes in its fleet, including 14 of the A330-200, a competitor for the 787. Air Berlin’s A330-200s carry 298 passengers. The 787-8’s capacity is 242 passengers. The 787’s maximum range is longer, at 14,500 kilometers, compared with 12,300 for the A330.
Based on what Air Berlin has said, it appears that the airline has chosen to “harmonise” on the A330 as its two-engine twin-aisle plane.
The cancellation does not appear to have hurt Boeing’s stock price. Shares were up about 0.3% at $127.50 at noon on Friday, in a 52-week range of $113.34 to $144.57.