Thursday, October 26, 2017

Delta evaluating A320neo or 737 Max family order

Delta Air Lines is looking at both the Airbus A320neo and Boeing 737 Max for an upcoming narrow-body order.

"We're in the middle of a RFP process to look at additional [narrow-body] aircraft," says Gil West, chief operating officer of the Atlanta-based carrier, at a media event in Atlanta today.

Delta will use the aircraft from the order to replace older narrow-bodies as they retire from its mainline fleet, he says. He declines to comment on which types it plans to replace.

The airline plans to remove the 113 Boeing MD-88s in its fleet by 2020. It will replace the aircraft with larger Airbus A321s and Boeing 737-900ERs.

The MD-88s are the oldest narrow-bodies in Delta's mainline fleet with an average age of 27.2 years, Flight Fleets Analyzer shows. The next oldest are its 65 A320s and 113 Boeing 757-200s that both have an average age of 22.3 years.

Both Airbus and Boeing offer direct replacements for the A320 – the A320neo and 737 Max 8 respectively – and Airbus offers the A321LR as a replacement for some of the long-haul 757s.

Boeing is developing a New Mid-sized Airplane (NMA) that would carry 220-270 passengers up to 5,000nm. The aircraft, if launched, would replace long-haul 757s and fit between the 737 Max 10 and Boeing 787-8 in the airframer's line.

"We'll look at both aircraft on their merits and ultimately make a decision accordingly," says West when asked whether Airbus' investment in the Bombardier CSeries program could impact Delta's view of either airframer.

He declines to comment on a timeline for the order.

Delta is the only major US carrier without an order for the latest generation Airbus and Boeing narrow-bodies. American Airlines has orders for both the A321neo and 737-8, and United Airlines for the 737-9 and -10.

Southwest Airlines was the launch customer for the 737-8.

Delta has narrow-body orders for 95 A321s, 36 737-900ERs and 75 Bombardier CS100s, Fleets Analyzer shows.

(Edward Russell - FlightGlobal News) 

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