Delta to add Airbus, Boeing aircraft to fleet amid travel demand recovery

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Delta has entered into agreements to add 29 used Boeing 737-900ERs and lease seven used Airbus A350-900s as it continues to streamline and modernize its fleet. The 36 additional aircraft will improve fuel efficiency and enhance the customer experience, while supporting Delta’s fleet renewal strategy focused on simplification, scale, size and sustainability.

“These aircraft are an investment in Delta’s future,” said Delta CEO Ed Bastian. “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.”

The COVID-19 pandemic provided an opportunity to simplify Delta’s fleet and accelerate retirements of 18 widebody 777s, and the MD-88 and MD-90 narrowbody fleets, all of them older and less efficient. The pandemic also provided unique business opportunities to add newer generation aircraft at attractive prices.

Widebody fleet renewal is instrumental to Delta’s recovery, and will help position Delta for sustained profitability and future growth. As Delta’s flagship aircraft, the A350 provides a world-class customer experience, enhances cargo capacity, reduces unit costs and contributes to a more sustainable future.

The next-generation A350s burn 21 percent less fuel per seat than the 777s they replace. Improved fuel efficiency is paramount to Delta’s ongoing efforts to reduce its carbon emissions and its Flight to Net Zero. The acquisition of 29 narrowbody 737-900ERs also complement Delta’s existing fleet.

Delta will lease the A350s through AerCap and purchase 27 of the 737-900ERs from funds managed by Castlelake, L.P., while the remaining two 737-900ERs will be financed from funds also managed by Castlelake, L.P. Both transactions are subject to closing conditions. Deliveries of the aircraft will be completed by the first quarter of 2022, and they will enter service after modifications are completed.

In addition to the seven A350s that are part of this announcement, Delta currently has 15 A359s in service and 20 on order. The addition of the 29 737-900ERs will bring the total to 159 in its fleet.

The agreement follows Delta’s decision in April to exercise options on 25 additional A321neo jets, which will start to deliver next year. Those aircraft offer the lowest seat costs in Delta’s fleet.

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