US Airways postpones jet deliveries in financial restructuring

US Airways announced another step this morning in efforts to shore up its finances at a time the recession has caused a sharp drop in traffic. In this round, the airline said it would improve its liquidity by $150 million now, and by $450 million by the end of 2010, in part by deferring delivery of new jets.

The practical effect, presuming nothing else (like a merger, or a sudden and unlikely upturn in business) happens, is to delay delivery of a new Airbus widebody, the A350, that would replace aging Boeing and slightly newer Airbus models on PHL-Europe flights, until at least 2017; the due date had been 2015. Among questions this raises: Just how long can US keep flying those old 767s across the pond?

US Airways executives said in a message to employees that the moves to help its finances should be seen as part of other recent decisions to help stabilize its bottom line. The other deals: Trading takeoff-and-landing slots at LaGuardia Airport with Delta for slots at Washington National, and restructuring its hub-and-spoke route system to eliminate or cut flights to some cities while focusing on its hubs at PHL, Charlotte, Phoenix and Washington.

If we learn much more, we'll let you know.