Northwest boost for Boeing

Northwest Airlines has placed a $2.2 billion order with Boeing for up to 68 787 Dreamliner aircraft.

Northwest Airlines

has placed an order with Boeing for up to 68 787 Dreamliner aircraft, which will be used on the carrier’s long-haul routes.

The order includes firm purchases of 18 787-8s, worth approximately $2.2 billion at list prices, plus options and purchase rights for 50 additional Dreamliners. Six aeroplanes will be delivered each year during 2008, 2009, and 2010. With its initial delivery in August 2008, Northwest will be the first North American carrier operating the 787.

“The Boeing 787 provides Northwest Airlines with a new-generation, long-range aircraft that will allow us to tailor our growing international route system to best address our customers’ travel needs,” said Doug Steenland, Northwest Airlines president and chief executive officer.

Boeing said in a statement that the 787 will be 50 percent more fuel efficient per trip than Northwest’s current fleet of 747-200s and DC-10-30s and will substantially reduce operating and maintenance costs.

Northwest, the world’s fourth-largest airline, becomes a member of the 787 Launch Team that now includes 20 airlines from around the world. Orders and commitments for the 787 since its launch last year total 255. Production of the Dreamliner will begin in 2006. First flight is expected in 2007, with certification, delivery and entry into service in 2008.