MIAMI – Delta Air Lines posted an internal memo to its pilots stating that their upcoming Bombardier CSeries will be based in New York City and Los Angeles.
Airways was able to confirm that the memo also stated that Dallas/Ft. Worth (DFW) will also receive early CSeries flights.
The Atlanta-based airline currently has 75 Bombardier CSeries jets on order with an option for an additional 50 planes. Delta plans to launch its new CSeries operations in early 2018.
During the airline’s most recent earnings report call, President Glen Hauenstein confirmed that the first jetliners will be based in New York, though there was no mention as to whether it’ll be Kennedy or La Guardia.
These base locations—New York and Los Angeles—are strategically important since they are highly competitive markets in the U.S. In recent years, Delta has made substantial investments in both markets.
Just last week, Delta broke ground on a new $4 billion terminal at LaGuardia Airport, and has moved forward with a massive relocation from Terminals 5 and 6 to Terminals 2 and 3, as part of a $1.9 billion, seven-year modernization plan by the carrier at LAX.
The new Bombardier jets will bring Delta long range and fuel efficiency at the 100-seat market. Currently, Delta relies on the 110-seat Boeing 717-200s for its smaller mainline flights.
While the 717 is a quality aircraft and Delta is paying pennies on the dollar for them (most Delta 717s are former AirTran aircraft on lease from Southwest Airlines), it does lack the range for many domestic missions.
The CS100, on the other hand, offers over double the range of the Boeing 717 (1,415 miles vs. 3,100 miles) at highly efficient numbers. For Delta, this means the CS100 can easily operate many missions the 717 cannot.
The CS100 will also allow Delta to operate smaller narrow body aircraft on “short and thin” routes (longer distance routes with fewer passengers).
In many ways, the CS100 will give Delta the same flexibility the Boeing 787 Dreamliner gives to an airline like British Airways (BA). For BA, the 787’s superb economics and fuel efficiency have allowed them to launch several new routes to smaller markets. Examples include Austin, San Jose, and soon Nashville.
For Delta, the CSeries will allow them to up-gauge current regional jet routes to mainline. As current E-Jet, CRJ-700, and CRJ-900 routes are replaced, these larger regional jets will then, in turn, take over routes from smaller 50-seat regional jets.
Delta’s placed order is worth on $5.6 billion at list prices making the airline as the C-Series’ single largest customer.
Benjamin Bearup and Enrique Perrella contributed to this report.