(14 July 2021) Delta has confirmed plans to buy 29 used Boeing 737-900ERs and lease seven used Airbus A350-900s.
The 36 additional aircraft will help the airline to reduce fuel costs and enhance the overall 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 ongoing COVID19 pandemic has provided an opportunity for Delta to simplify its 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 has also provided unique business opportunities to add newer generation aircraft at much more attractive prices than normal.
The A350s burn 21% less fuel per seat than the 777s they replace whilst 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 outlined above, 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.
These two latest agreements follow Delta’s decision in April to exercise options on 25 additional A321neo jets. Delivery of the A321neos is scheduled to commence next year.