Air Berlin has changed its current Boeing 787 order from the -8 to the -9, CEO Wolfgang Prock-Schauer told Aviation Week on the sidelines of the International Air Transport Association (IATA) annual general meeting in Cape Town. Aviation Week first reported the planned change in April 2013. The aircraft are to be delivered from 2017.

Prock-Schauer says the 787-8 is now considered too small and the stretched -9 better fits Air Berlin’s requirement for lower unit costs. The airline plans to replace the A330-300 fleet over time. Air Berlin currently has 15 787s on firm order. The order was placed in 2007 but delivery dates have been delayed several times. The first -8 would have been due for delivery in 2015 according to the latest schedule, but that is now shifting further back by two years.

Air Berlin is in deep restructuring mode and has been cutting back on capacity and investment to return to a more stable financial state. Its equity is currently negative. Air Berlin was rescued from likely bankruptcy in early 2012 when its strategic partner Etihad invested in a 27% stake in the airline.

The two carriers are also cooperating closely in servicing the 787 fleet.