MIAMI — The very first Airbus A330neo for Atlanta-based Delta Air Lines (DL) has rolled out of the assembly line this morning in Toulouse, France. Simultaneously, the airline has confirmed that an additional 10 planes have been ordered.
The plane is seen sporting Delta’s tail design, waiting for a full coat of paint and to be fitted with its two Rolls-Royce Trent 7000 engines.
Airways staff photographer, Clément Alloing, was there to capture the airliner rolling out of the factory to its first public appearance on Toulouse-Blagnac’s tarmac.
New Delta Order For 10 More A330neos?
On November 19, 2014, Delta became the launch customer for the Airbus A330-900neo by ordering 25 units. The launch operator of the type, however, is TAP Portugal, due to take delivery of the first A330-900neo shortly.
The US carrier, looking to reaffirm its status as one of the world’s most efficient operators of Airbus wide-body fleets, has placed an order for ten additional A330-900neos on November 14, 2018—exactly four years after opening the sales books of the re-engined A330 program.
“Expanding our A330 order book not only ensures that Delta’s near-to-medium-term widebody needs are taken care of but also drives our strategic, measured international growth,” said Gil West, Delta’s Senior Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer.
“The next-generation engine technology from Rolls-Royce which powers the A330neo provides compelling operating economics, superior fuel performance and the range and coverage for our transoceanic needs going forward.”
The purchase is estimated to be worth about $3 billion.
Should this order for 10 planes be confirmed, it would bring Delta’s total A330neo backlog to 35 aircraft. The airline already operates 42 current generation A330-200/300s.
In addition to this order, Delta has agreed to reduce its near-term A350-900 purchase commitment to a total of 15 aircraft from 25, the airline said.
The 10 previously on order A350 aircraft have been deferred to 2025-26 with certain flexibility rights including the right to convert these orders to A330-900s, confirmed the carrier via a public statement today.
“The A350 has been a great success for our customers and our business,” West said. “A fleet of 15 of these world-class aircraft is the right current fit for Delta’s industry-leading global network, operational reliability
According to Delta, the airline currently operates 11 A350-900s and expects to take delivery of two A350s in 2019 and two in 2020.
Looking Back At Delta’s A330neo Order
In 2014, Delta announced a major order for 50 new Airbus widebody aircraft, including 25 A330-900neos and 25 A350-900s.
The order represented, at the time, an important victory for Airbus over rival Boeing, who had been pitching its Boeing 787-9 and five new Boeing 777-200LRs as a stopgap offer until 787-9 delivery slots opened up.
The order also marked the conclusion of an RFP (request for proposals) issued by Delta in spring 2014 to replace portions of its Boeing 767 and Boeing 747 fleet, the latter of which was retired by the end of 2017.
In July 2017, Delta took contractual delivery of their first Airbus A350 in Toulouse, France. The aircraft, N501DN, was the first A350 delivered to an airline in the United States.
As more Airbus A350s and the eventual first A330neo planes join Delta’s fleet, the older Boeing 767-300s and 777-200s will be phased out, rejuvenating its fleet with state-of-the art, brand-new widebody planes.
Stay tuned for more photos of Delta’s first Airbus A330neo.