Delta buys Airbus

Delta Airlines has announced an order for some Airbus aircraft and before anyone signals that this is the end of days moment for Boeing . . . relax.

Delta today is comprised of Delta yesterday and Northwest Airlines of yesterday as well.  Northwest Airlines was a big user of Airbus aircraft.  The organization does have a great deal of experience operating Airbus aircraft now.

Furthermore, no airline of Delta’s size can afford to continue to buy from one single supplier and be responsible to both their company as well as their shareholders.

And who says Airbus builds a bad product?  I sure don’t.  Delta has learned that the A330 works very well for them sitting between their 777-200 and 747-400 aircraft.  Part of this order is a “top up” of the A330-300 type to the tune of 10 additional aircraft.  Delta has (10) Airbus A330-200s and (20) Airbus A330-300s already and an additional (10) A330-300 aircraft sounds, to me, like Airbus is growing some capacity at the top end of their fleet.

The A330-300 is their second largest aircraft seating-wise, believe it or not.

And Delta ordered (30) A321 aircraft as well.  This is an airplane that arguably most US based airlines will be buying as it has been identified as a 757 replacement on certain missions.  Given that just 30 of them have been ordered, I suspect that the A321 offers a better replacement than the 737-900ER  in certain missions likely requiring more density rather than range.

No airline can afford to skip Airbus at this point.  Likewise, no airline should skip Boeing either.  Each manufacturer has viable products that can meet needs.  Aircraft manufacturers can no longer offer delivery positions that make it possible to stay in one product family.  Well, not easily anyway.



4 Responses to “Delta buys Airbus”

  1. I think it’s a nice move by them. This now covers their 757-200 retirements but they still need to address the MD-88. I would expect a mix of A320neo and MAX8. The A330 order must mean that they’re happy with the aircraft they got from NW. Maybe this puts the A350 in the mix with the 777 and 787 for the 747 and 767 replacements.

  2. All their orders and deferrals so far point to an airline that has a long term strategy of buying on the cheap rather than going for the latest and greatest.

    I expect the MD-88s will remain for a while since they announced a cockpit refresh for them. Definitely the MD-90s will remain for a while.

  3. Didn’t hear about the cockpit refresh but I know they just started taking delivery of the AirTran B717s. I suppose this may work for them on a pure cost basis, but aircraft have a funny way of getting old fast, and with delivery slots so far in the future they may find themselves with escalating costs as the JT8D’s deteriorating performance catches up with them. The V2500 on the MD-90 is a very good engine and will be around for awhile, I agree.

  4. While the MD-90 clearly fits a niche, I do agree that Delta seems to be putting itself out of the running for delivery slots until the 2020s. In addition, it seems to be unwilling to take advantage of introductory pricing for large buys.

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