Delta commits to purchase 25 A350s and 25 A330neos

21 Nov 2014 by Clement Huang

Delta Air Lines has committed to an order of 50 new aircraft. The US carrier has chosen the Airbus A350-900 and A330-900neo to replace its soon-to-be retired Boeing 747 and 767 airplanes, which will begin delivery in 2017 and 2019 respectively. The massive order is valued at US$14 billion at list prices. 

The announcement is a bit of a blow to Boeing, whose B787 or B777 models were contenders to replace the retiring aircraft.

Delta’s vice president – fleet strategy and transactions Nat Pieper attributed the decision to purchase 25 A350-900 and 25 A330-900Neo to the fact that both models complement the airline’s existing capacity and capital expenditure plans to focus on making cost-effective investments in its fleet.

Airbus A330-900neo

"The A350 and A330neo support our long-haul, transoceanic strategy and join a mix of Boeing and Airbus aircraft that provide exceptional flexibility for Delta's global network as well as strong cash-on-cash returns for our shareholders," said Pieper.

According to Delta, the A350 will primarily serve long-haul routes between the US and Asia due to its superior range and fuel-saving capabilities. Compared to the B747 that it is replacing, the A350 boasts a 20 per cent improvement in operating cost per seat. Delivery is expected to begin in Q2 of 2017.

Meanwhile the A330neo, first announced at the Farnborough Airshow in July (see here) will come in two flavours – the -800 and -900, with Delta favouring the latter due to the increased capacity that it offers. The carrier will deploy the aircraft on medium-haul trans-Atlantic markets as well as select routes connecting the US West Coast with Asia.

Similar to the A350, the A330-900neo will offer a 20 per cent saving in operating costs per seat over the B767-300ER that it replaces. The aircraft is expected to enter service in 2019.

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Clement Huang

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