Delta Air Lines has today announced a huge order for at least 100 brand new Airbus A321NEO narrowbody aircraft. The jets will be used to replace Delta’s existing fleet of similarly sized aircraft with the airline set to take delivery of its first A321NEO in 2020. Delta has options to buy a further 100 in a deal worth nearly $13 billion at list price.
The airline has chosen Connecticut-based Pratt and Whitney ‘Pure Power’ geared-turbofan engines for its new aircraft. Delta was at pains to point out that the deal will be a boost for U.S. workers despite the contract being awarded to a European aircraft manufacturer.
Commenting on the deal, Delta’s chief executive, Ed Bastian commented: “This is the right transaction at the right time for our customers, our employees and our shareholders.”
“Delta, Airbus and Pratt & Whitney share the same commitment to safety, efficiency, innovation and continuously improving the customer experience.”
Each A321 will seat 197 passengers in a three-class configuration – 20 in First Class, a further 30 in Delta Comfort+ and 147 Main Cabin seats. All seats will be fitted with on-demand in-flight entertainment and power ports. Delta has also opted to install fast satellite-based 2Ku in-flight Wi-Fi and streaming video content via its Delta Studio platform.
Despite shunning U.S.-based Boeing, the new A321’s will be mostly manufactured at an American Airbus plant in Mobile, Alabama. Speaking on behalf of Airbus, John Leahy said more that 40% of the aircraft manufacturer’s procurement had also been awarded to U.S. companies.
The new engines from Pratt and Witney will also be manufactured in the U.S.
In September, the U.S. imposed a 300% tariff on imports of Canadian-made Bombardier C-Series jets with Delta having 75 of the jets on order. At the time, Bastion said he would refuse to pay the tariff and insisted the deal would go ahead.
The tariff was imposed after Boeing complained to a U.S. trade commission, alleging that the Canadian government had given subsidies to Bombardier to develop the jet. While the dispute isn’t over just yet, Airbus stepped into the breach, taking a majority stake in the C-Series programme.