AIRBUS Delta MSN9025 1st Flight

MIAMI – Delta Air Lines has taken delivery of its 50th Airbus A321 manufactured at the Airbus assembly line in Mobile, Alabama.

The delivery is not just a milestone for Airbus but it is also a new chapter for Delta, as both the airline and the manufacturer continue to work together on sustainability projects that produce aircraft capable of flying on a new blend of sustainable fuels.

According to Airbus, the newly-delivered A321 is the first of 20 planes Delta will receive with this new capability.

The first A321 equipped with the new environmentally friendly option flew from Mobile to the airline’s facility in Kansas City, where according to. Delta, final induction work will be performed before the aircraft moves into service.

“Today’s carbon-neutral delivery flight is a milestone on Delta’s sustainability journey as we work to cut carbon emissions in half by 2050,” said Alison Lathrop, Delta’s Managing Director – Global Environment, Sustainability, and Compliance.

“We are excited to partner with Air BP and Airbus to power these delivery flights with biofuels and carbon offsets, and will explore opportunities to bring this level of sustainability to all delivery flights going forward.”

Replacing The Aging MD-90 Fleet

Delta confirmed this week that the retirement of its MD-90 fleet will take place by the end of 2022.

Once the venerable Maddogs are retired, it should mark the end of the McDonnell-Douglas MD-80/90 operation in the United States.

The Boeing 717, however, will continue to soar the skies well past that timeframe.

Delta’s decision to replace its aging fleet of MD-88/90 aircraft with brand-new Airbus A220 and A321neo aircraft has been a considerable blow for Boeing.

In fact, last week Delta took delivery of its very last factory-fresh Boeing aircraft—the 130th 737-900(ER) to join its fleet. From now on, what used to be one of Boeing’s largest customers, has only scheduled for delivery brand-new Airbus planes.

While the exact retirement dates of Delta’s remaining fleet of Boeing 757 and 767 fleet is unknown, the airline has made it clear that new A321neo and A220s will progressively replace the MD-88/90 fleet.

The A330neo Joins The Line

This week, Delta launched nonstop flights between Seattle and Shanghai on its brand-new Airbus A330-900. The aircraft was delivered at the end of May, introducing a unique seating plan and cabin settings.

Ed Bastian, the airline’s CEO, said, “two decades of being in this industry and still… nothing compares to the engineering marvel of a brand new jet. Say hello to our newest fleet addition: the Airbus A330-900neo, now flying Seattle-Shanghai.

With its newest plane now flying daily between the US and China, Delta unveiled its second-quarter earnings.

The airline, according to Bastian, “had a record June for traffic and eight of Delta’s ten busiest days ever were in the last thirty days.”

“With record passenger loads, customer satisfaction and $1 billion in revenue growth for the June quarter, demand for Delta’s customer-focused product and service has never been stronger,” added Glen Hauenstein, Delta’s president.

“Our third quarter is off to a great start with a new highest revenue day on record on July 7th. We now expect revenue growth of six to seven percent for the year, a $3 billion increase over 2018, as we benefit from our multi-year pipeline of the fleet, product, and loyalty initiatives,” Hauenstein added.

During the first half of the year, Delta has delivered 148 days of zero mainline cancellations and 78 days of zero system cancellations —a 30% improvement over last year’s record performance.

The airline achieved record quarterly system and a domestic load factor of 88.0% and 89.0%—an increase of up to 1.3 points and 2.3 points, respectively, versus 2018.

Overall, Delta has managed to grasp a record completion factor of 99.86%.

The US Airline Industry now shows an impressive gap in terms of market cap amongst the four biggest carriers in the country:

  • Delta (DAL)- $38.95 billion
  • Southwest (LUV)- $28.17 billion
  • United (UAL)- $23.55 billion
  • American (AAL)- $14.7 billion

Interestingly, Delta’s current market cap value is higher than what United and American, together, add up.