Delta Air Lines confirmed on Tuesday that it has snapped up 29 used Boeing 737-900ER jets and will lease seven Airbus A350 widebody aircraft as the demand for air travel continues to outpace even the most optimistic of predictions.
The announcement comes just 15 months after Delta decided to permanently retire its 18 strong fleet of Boeing 777 long-haul aircraft and ditch its ageing MD-88s and MD-90’s as the Atlanta-based airline set about stemming its cash flow losses at the height of the pandemic.
On Tuesday, Delta maintained that it still made sense to get rid of the ‘Triple Sevens’ and ‘Mad Dogs’ when it did because it was able to pick up more fuel-efficient aircraft at “attractive prices”. The 737 and A350 also fit into a more streamlined fleet profile that will help keep costs down and make operational planning and maintenance a lot easier.
“As we look past the pandemic, Delta’s disciplined, innovative approach to fleet renewal positions us for growth as travel demand returns
, while enhancing the customer experience and supporting our sustainability commitments,” commented Delta’s chief executive Ed Bastian.
“These aircraft are an investment in Delta’s future,” Bastian continued.
The A350’s burn around 21 per cent less fuel than the 777’s they’ll replace, although Delta will have to spend some money to configure the used jets to the same standard as its current 15 strong fleet of A350-900’s. A further 20 A350’s are still on order with Airbus and will continue to be delivered.
Delta is also due to start taking delivery of 25 new Airbus A321neo aircraft from next year but even so, Delta’s fleet expansion is eclipsed by United’s recent order of 270 brand new single-aisle jets from both Boeing and Airbus.
United expects to receive 40 new single-aisle aircraft next year, 138 the year after and as many as 350 in 2024. A new single-aisle plane will join United’s fleet every three days from 2023 as the airline seeks to replace its ageing existing fleet and power a growth spurt as the airline industry emerges from the pandemic.
Mateusz Maszczynski honed his skills as an international flight attendant at the most prominent airline in the Middle East and has been flying throughout the COVID-19 pandemic for a well-known European airline. Matt is passionate about the aviation industry and has become an expert in passenger experience and human-centric stories. Always keeping an ear close to the ground, Matt's industry insights, analysis and news coverage is frequently relied upon by some of the biggest names in journalism.