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Qantas Pulls Order for 35 Boeing Dreamliner Jets

Qantas(NEW YORK) -- Plotting a course through tough economic times, Qantas Airways has delivered a big blow to airline manufacturer Boeing by cancelling dozens of its new Dreamliner passenger jets.

"Given lower growth requirement in this uncertain global context, firm commitments for 35 B787-9s will be cancelled," Qantas CEO Alan Joyce said.

Those planes would be worth around $8.5 billion at "list prices."  So for now, the Australian carrier plans to stick with an older fleet for longer.

For the first time ever, Qantas has reported a $257 million annual loss -- that's going back to when it went private in 1995.

The airline, nicknamed the "Flying Kangaroo," has been hit by rising fuel prices and a series of strikes.

"Clearly we confront very difficult and uncertain trading conditions in Britain, Europe and the United States.  The fuel price is also uncertain.  The high Australian dollar will continue to create ripple effects throughout Australia as retail, manufacturing and tourism adjusts," Joyce said.

He insisted that transformation at the airline is on track, and that the goal "is to return it to profit and ensure it remains Australia's iconic flagship carrier."

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

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