MIAMI – Delta Air Lines (DL) has announced its decision to welcome 29 used Boeing 737-900ERs and lease seven used Airbus A350-900s to trim, modernize, and build on efficiency.

“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.”

Delta Air Lines N513DZ Airbus A350-900. Photo: Mateo Skinner/Airways

Efficiency in Mind

The incoming 36 aircraft will focus on improving fuel efficiency, noise reduction, sustainable contribution, and better onboard product offering to its customers, with an ultimate goal of simplifying its fleet providing a lower operating cost.

Delta is keen to accelerate and retire older less efficient aircraft such as the MD-88, MD-90, and even 18 Boeing 777-200’s. Taking advantage of the sluggish period thanks to COVID, the airline will substitute newer aircraft at an attractive price.

While the 777-200 has proven to be Delta’s long-haul backbone for the past decade, the time has come for the Airbus A350 to take over. Though the 777 seats more, the A350 has a near similar range and a massive 21% less fuel burn, cutting down emissions and costs. The A350 also features a more modern, spacious, and quieter cabin. The seven XWB will join its existing A350 fleet of 15 and 20 more which are on order.

Delta Air Lines N9084DN Boeing 737-900ER. Photo: Otto Kirchof/Airways

Complementing the Existing Fleet

The acquisition of 29 narrowbody Boeing 737-900ERs also complements DL’s existing fleet, taking up to 159 aircraft. On its part, the Airbus A350 will be leased from AerCap which was ex LATAM (LA), and the 737-900ERs from funds managed by Castlelake, L.P. which are from Lion Air (JT).

All aircraft will be delivered by early 2022 and will then enter the hangars for specific modifications.

Delta also expects to start receiving its 25 A321neos next year which offers the lowest seat cost compared to any other aircraft in delta’s fleet giving the airline an edge in pricing.

Featured image: Delta Air Lines N878DN Boeing 737-900ER. Photo: Michael Rodeback/Airways