Delta Air Lines announced plans to purchase 40 Airbus aircraft for delivery between 2015 and 2017. The order, which comprises 10 international widebody A330-300 and 30 large domestic narrowbody A321 jets, is the latest step in Delta's prudent fleet renewal to enhance profitability while diligently managing capacity.
"This Airbus agreement is another opportunistic fleet transaction for Delta in which we acquire economically efficient, proven-technology aircraft," said Richard Anderson, Delta's chief executive officer. "These A330s and A321s will provide tremendous flexibility for Delta to optimally manage our capacity over the next five years while further improving the flight experience for our customers and returns for our shareholders.
"Disciplined capital deployment is a cornerstone of Delta's comprehensive financial plan," said Paul Jacobson, Delta's chief financial officer. "These Airbus aircraft will generate free cash flow and improve our return on invested capital from the time they enter service."
The 10 A330-300 aircraft will augment Delta's existing fleet of 32 A330s. The first A330 delivery is scheduled for spring of 2015, with three additional airplanes scheduled for that year, four in 2016, and the final two in 2017.
Delta will be the first airline to operate the enhanced 242-metric ton A330-300, which offers additional payload capacity and range. Delta will use the aircraft's versatility to optimize its Pacific and Atlantic networks.
These aircraft will be powered by General Electric CF6-80E1 engines. Delta currently operates similar GE CF6 engines on more than 60 widebody aircraft.
The A330 will feature 34 full flat-bed seats with direct aisle access in BusinessElite, 32 extra-legroom seats in Economy Comfort and 227 Economy seats. The international aircraft will feature in-flight Wi-Fi and industry leading in-flight entertainment with a library of more than 1,000 on-demand options, as well as standard 110v power, modern interiors with LED lighting, and extra-capacity overhead bins.
The 30 A321s will expand Delta's existing fleet of 126 A320-family domestic aircraft. Delta's first three A321s are scheduled for delivery in the first quarter of 2016, with 12 more due in that year. The remaining 15 jets are scheduled for 2017.
Delta's A321 will be equipped with CFM56-5B engines produced by CFM International, a joint venture of General Electric Co. and Snecma of France. Delta operates more than 200 aircraft in its fleet today with CFM56 engines, including all Airbus narrowbody aircraft. The A321s will also feature wingtip sharklets, which will provide up to 4 percent improvement in fuel efficiency.
The Airbus A321 will have 20 First Class seats, 22 extra-legroom seats in Economy Comfort and 148 seats in the Economy cabin. Every A321 will feature in-flight Wi-Fi, industry leading in-flight entertainment with live satellite TV and on-demand options, and standard 110v power. The A321 will also offer Economy cabin seats that are among the widest in the industry.
Delta Air Lines serves more than 160 million customers each year. Delta was named by Fortune magazine as the most admired airline worldwide in its 2013 World's Most Admired Companies airline industry list, topping the list for the second time in three years. With an industry-leading global network, Delta and the Delta Connection carriers offer service to 317 destinations in 57 countries on six continents. Headquartered in Atlanta, Delta employs nearly 80,000 employees worldwide and operates a mainline fleet of more than 700 aircraft. The airline is a founding member of the SkyTeam global alliance and participates in the industry's leading trans-Atlantic joint venture with Air France-KLM and Alitalia. Including its worldwide alliance partners, Delta offers customers more than 15,000 daily flights, with hubs in Amsterdam, Atlanta, Cincinnati, Detroit, Minneapolis-St. Paul, New York-LaGuardia, New York-JFK, Paris-Charles de Gaulle, Salt Lake City and Tokyo-Narita. Delta is investing more than $3 billion in airport facilities and global products, services and technology to enhance the customer experience in the air and on the ground.