Delta Air Lines Expands Fleet with 40 Airbus A350-1000 Order

On Friday, Delta Air Lines announced an order for as many as 40 new Airbus A350-1000 widebody aircraft, with the first 20 jets set to be delivered starting in 2026. This order, which was reported earlier this week, is likely to make Delta the first U.S. airline to operate this model. Delta also mentioned that it has options for an additional 20 planes.


The A350-1000, a long-range aircraft, can comfortably seat between 350 and 410 passengers and offers ample space for premium cabins, as per the European aircraft manufacturer. Delta's CEO, Ed Bastian, stated that these planes will replace the Boeing 767s in their fleet. He added during the company's earnings call, "These planes align with our fleet strategy and will provide a world-class experience for international travelers, with more premium seats, higher gauge, and excellent customer amenities." Delta has established itself as a premium airline, aiming to attract passengers who are willing to pay for more than just a seat. Since the pandemic, its revenue from premium cabins has been growing faster than those from economy seats. Despite placing an order for 100 Boeing 737 MAX 10 jets in 2022, Delta has primarily been an Airbus customer. As of the end of September, the company had 65 Airbus A330 and 28 A350-900 widebodies in its fleet, with commitments to purchase an additional 16 of each.


These twin-aisle jets are expected to aid the company in expanding its network in the Asia-Pacific region, which has been slower to recover in terms of global travel demand after the pandemic compared to the U.S. and Europe. Delta also announced a service agreement with Rolls-Royce for the maintenance of Trent XWB-97 engines that power the A350-1000 jets.


United Airlines is the only other U.S. carrier to have placed an order for the A350 so far, specifically for 45 of the smaller A350-900s, although none have been delivered yet. Current operators of the A350-1000 globally include British Airways, Qatar Airways, and Cathay Pacific Airways of Hong Kong. On Thursday, Airbus announced record annual jet orders and confirmed an 11% increase in 2023 deliveries, securing its position as the top manufacturer against rival Boeing for the fifth consecutive year.

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