MIAMI – In a Shareholders meeting on June 18, 2020, Delta Air Lines (DL) CEO Ed Bastian announced that the last Boeing 777 flight will take place before the end of Fall.

The announced retirement date means that the type will most likely exit the fleet by the end of November, if not earlier.

DL first indicated that the Boeing 777 would exit service by the end of 2020.

Delta Air Lines and the Boeing 777

Delta Air Lines currently has 18 Boeing 777 in its fleet. Eight of those aircraft are Boeing 777-200ER, and the other 10 are Boeing 777-200LR. DL is currently in the process of slimming its fleet, also retiring the MD-88 and MD-90 aircraft.

The exit of the Boeing 777 from DL’s fleet highlights the impact that COVID-19 has had on long-haul flights. Only a few years ago was DL announced the DeltaOne suites for the aircraft. At the time, it appeared that it still had some life left in them, so to retire them this year is a bit of a shock.

Delta One Suite – PHOTO: Delta Airlines.

Future of Long-haul

As recovery is most likely years away, especially for long-haul flights, it makes sense to retire older aircraft. The 7Boeing 77 aircraft were being used to fly some of the longest routes to places that currently have their borders closed to most passengers.

With airlines burning cash each day, it is expected that there will be future fleet slimmings at many carriers for long-haul aircraft.

Now that some areas of the world are opening their borders in time for the summer peak, it hopefully will start to take some of the pressure off.