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Delta to add 36 Aircraft to Fleet Amid Travel Demand Recovery

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Delta has agreed to lease seven used Airbus A350-900s and add 29 used Boeing 737-900ERs to its fleet as it seeks to simplify and modernize its aircraft. The 36 more planes will increase fuel economy and the passenger experience, while also complementing Delta’s fleet renewal strategy, which focuses on simplification, scale, size, and sustainability.

Delta CEO Ed Bastian stated, “These planes are an investment in Delta’s future.” “As we move beyond the epidemic, Delta’s rigorous, innovative strategy to fleet renewal prepares us for growth as travel demand recovers, while improving the passenger experience and fulfilling our sustainability commitments.”

The COVID-19 epidemic presented a chance for Delta to simplify its fleet and hasten the retirement of 18 widebody 777s, as well as the MD-88 and MD-90 narrowbody fleets, which were all older and less efficient. The epidemic also created one-of-a-kind business chances to add newer generation airplanes at competitive pricing.

Delta’s widebody fleet renewal is critical to its recovery and will assist position the airline for long-term profitability and expansion. The A350, Delta’s flagship aircraft, offers a world-class customer experience, increases cargo capacity, lowers unit costs, and contributes to a more sustainable future.

The A350s of the future use 21% less fuel per seat than the 777s they replace. Improved fuel efficiency is critical to Delta’s continued efforts to minimize carbon emissions and achieve the Flight to Net Zero goal. Delta’s existing fleet will be supplemented by the purchase of 29 narrowbody 737-900ERs.

Delta will lease the A350s from AerCap and buy 27 of the 737-900ERs from funds managed by Castlelake, L.P. The remaining two 737-900ERs will be funded by funds managed by Castlelake, L.P. as well. Closing conditions apply to both transactions. The aircraft will be delivered during the first quarter of 2022 and will enter service once modifications are completed.

In addition to the seven A350s announced today, Delta currently has 15 A359s in operation and 20 on order. The addition of the 29 737-900ERs brings the total number of 737-900ERs in its fleet to 159.

The arrangement comes on the heels of Delta’s April decision to execute options on 25 additional A321neo jets, which will begin deliveries next year. These planes have the lowest seat prices in Delta’s fleet.


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