Nigeria’s Arik Air has scrapped a longstanding order for two Boeing 747-8Is, replacing it with a pair of Boeing 787-9s.
The change means a further shrinking of the already slim orderbook for the 747-8. Most of the new variant 747s ordered to date have been the -8 freighter version, as airlines increasingly turn to “big twins” for long-haul passenger services.
Boeing has reduced the 747-8 production rate to 0.5 aircraft a month as it fulfills remaining orders.
The two 787-9s are worth $529 million at book value. A regional source, who requested not to be identified, told ATW the 787-9 “makes much better sense” than the 747-8I for Arik Air, notably on routes to the US and UK.
Boeing said the delivery dates were a matter for the customer; an Arik Air representative said she did not have that information, but understood deliveries were “not imminent.”
According to Arik Air’s website, the Nigerian flag carrier’s long-haul fleet comprises two Airbus A340-500s and two A330-200s. Its short- to medium-haul services are operated by a mixed batch of 10 Boeing 737-700s and -800s, while regional routes are operated by four Bombardier CRJ900s, a single -1000 and two Q400s.