MIAMI – Delta Air Lines has taken delivery of its first Airbus A330-900 aircraft, which departed Toulouse last night arriving into Atlanta at 02:00 am UTC.
It is the first of 35 A330neo aircraft that the Atlanta-based carrier is expected to receive, and it marks a special occasion as the airline becomes the U.S launch customer of the re-engined variant.
The new Delta A330-900s are powered by the much larger Rolls-Royce Trent 7000 engines and features a new wing with an increased span of about four meters.
The wingtips feature A350-inspired sharklets, which Airbus claim it delivers “an unprecedented level of efficiency – with 25% lower fuel burn per seat than previous generation competitors.”
Not only is the delivery of this aircraft a new chapter in the history of Delta but the airline has also reached and hit a new environmental milestone with the aircraft, as the crew ferried the aircraft back to Delta’s main hub in Atlanta using a jet fuel blended from conventional sources and non-petroleum synthetic fuel.
The delivery of the first A330neo for Delta means that the Atlanta-based carrier will be operating the two newest Airbus wide-body variants: the A350-900 and the A330-900. As of today, the carrier runs a fleet of 13 A350-900, with an additional 12 still to be delivered.
Moreover, the delivery of this aircraft now sees Delta move towards a new Airbus-strong fleet. The airline now operates more than 265 Airbus planes, including the A319, A320, A321, A220, A330-200/300, A330-900, and A350-900, including further orders for 270 more planes, which includes 100 A321neos.
According to Delta, the new A330neos will replace the carrier’s Boeing 767-300ERs, which are set to be retiring from the fleet in a progressive fashion.
Debuting In Seattle-Tacoma To Asia
The new A330-900 will be based at the airline’s Seattle-Tacoma (SEA) hub, launching operations to Shanghai, Seoul-Incheon, and Tokyo-Narita starting later this summer.
The planes will be configured into a tri-class layout and will showcase all four of the airline’s products, including Delta One Suites, Delta Premium select, Delta Comfort+ and main cabin.
This configuration, broken down, includes 29 business-class suites, 28 premium economy, 56 extra-legroom economy seats, and 168 standard configuration economy seats.
It has also been confirmed that the aircraft will use and showcase Delta’s brand new internally developed in-flight entertainment system.
Delta’s Airbus Choice
The move from Delta to operate an exclusively all Airbus widebody fleet is certainly an interesting one. The airline is looking to take advantage of the manufacturer’s unique cockpit design, which allows crews to operate any A330 and A350 aircraft under one same certificate.
Moreover, the delivery of this aircraft strengthens the relationship between Delta and Airbus. This would be the second major announcement that both entities have shared within the last week. Both the carrier and the manufacturer celebrated the delivery of the 12,000th Airbus aircraft—an Airbus A220 delivered straight from Mirabel, Canada.