Delta leads Farnborough Airshow jet orders
July 20 2022 06:21 PM
Senior vice president of Commercial Sales & Marketing for The Boeing Company, Ihssane Mounir (L) and
Senior vice president of Commercial Sales & Marketing for The Boeing Company, Ihssane Mounir (L) and Senior Vice President of Fleet & TechOps Supply Chain for Delta Air Lines Mahendra Nair speak during a press conference at the Farnborough Airshow, in Farnborough. AFP

By Alex Macheras

Alex Macheras
Delta Air Lines led the aircraft orders at Farnborough Airshow in the UK this week, firming up orders for 12 A220-300 aircraft, bringing Delta’s total firm order for A220s to 107 aircraft – 45 A220-100s and 62 A220-300s, and ordering the Boeing 737 MAX.
“The A220-300 is economical, efficient and delivers superior performance,” said Mahendra Nair, SVP – Fleet & TechOps Supply Chain at Delta. “These additional aircraft in the A220 Family are an excellent investment for our customers and employees and will be fundamental as we work toward a more sustainable future for air travel.”
“Delta was the US launch customer for the A220 and it is great to announce this incremental order that demonstrates how satisfied it is with the A220, economically and from a passenger perspective,” said Christian Scherer, Airbus Chief Commercial Officer and Head of Airbus International. “On top of that, the versatility of this aircraft with the long range and short airfield performance makes it a real winner for our customers. Thank you Delta for your confidence in further expanding your fleet with all our new generation aircraft!”
Delta took delivery of its first Airbus A220 in October 2018, and was the first US carrier to operate the aircraft type. As of the end of June 2022, Delta was operating a fleet of 388 Airbus aircraft, including 56 A220 aircraft, 249 A320 Family aircraft, 57 A330s and 26 A350-900 aircraft. The A220 is the only aircraft purpose-built for the 100-150 seat market, bringing together state-of-the-art aerodynamics, advanced materials and Pratt & Whitney’s latest-generation GTF engines. The A220 brings customers around a 50% reduced noise footprint and up to 25% lower fuel burn per seat and CO2 emissions compared to previous generation aircraft, as well as around 50% lower NOx emissions than industry standards.
Airbus says the A220 is the optimal aircraft for regional as well as long-distance routes. To date, 60mn passengers have enjoyed the A220. The fleet is currently flying on over 700 routes and 300 destinations worldwide. As of the end of June 2022, over 25 customers have ordered 760+ A220 aircraft – confirming its breakthrough on the small single-aisle market.
With the 737 MAX order, Delta is ordering the largest model in the MAX family, the 737-10, which will begin delivery in 2025. It will be powered by the next-generation LEAP-1B engines manufactured by CFM International, a company jointly owned by GE and Safran Aircraft Engines. The aircraft will be 20%-30% more fuel efficient than the retiring Delta planes it will replace, making the agreement an important step in Delta’s journey toward a sustainable future for aviation.
“The Boeing 737-10 will be an important addition to Delta’s fleet as we shape a more sustainable future for air travel, with an elevated customer experience, improved fuel efficiency and best-in-class performance,” said Ed Bastian, Delta’s chief executive officer. “These new aircraft provide superior operating economics and network flexibility, and the agreement reflects our prudent approach to deploying our capital.”
Delta will add 100 Boeing 737 MAX aircraft to its fleet, with options for 30 more.
Delta’s CEO Bastian said “This aircraft will be piloted, served and maintained by the very best professionals in the business, and it’s their hard work and dedication to our customers that always sets us apart.”
“We are proud that Delta is renewing its single-aisle fleet with the 737 MAX, Boeing’s most fuel-efficient family of airplanes,” said Stan Deal, president and CEO of Boeing Commercial Airplanes. “Built in our factory in Washington state with support from key suppliers across the US, the 737-10 will provide Delta with the best economics to carry more passengers across its short and medium-haul routes.”
With a top speed of Mach 0.79 and a range of 3,300 nautical miles, the 737-10 has broad flexibility to serve markets across the US. The aircraft will be deployed in core hubs including New York, Boston, Atlanta, Detroit, Minneapolis-St Paul, Seattle and Los Angeles.
Final assembly of the plane will take place at Boeing’s facility in Renton, Washington, near Delta’s international hub at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport.
But Boeing’s 737 MAX 10 has been plagued with regulatory and certification delays, not least because the FAA is having to redefine how it certifies Boeing aircraft going forward, following the two 737 MAX fatal crashes in Indonesia and Ethiopia that led to the worldwide grounding. The 737-10 is currently awaiting final certification from the Federal Aviation Administration, which is expected in 2023. Delta says that, in the event of another delay, the agreement has adequate protection in place, including allowing Delta to shift to another model of the MAX family if necessary.
Delta did not disclose terms of either order. The Boeing jets would be worth $13.5bn and the Airbus order more than $1bn at list prices, although airlines get deep discounts.
With US air travel about 90% recovered from the worst of the pandemic, airlines are buying new planes that are more fuel-efficient than older ones. The orders are adding more debt on airlines, which have borrowed heavily since the pandemic started. Delta ended June with $21.4bn in long-term debt, up from $7.2bn at the same point in 2019.

*The author is an aviation analyst. Twitter handle: @AlexInAir

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