An unusual agreement was being discussed between Delta Air Lines and Boeing, a possible exchange the old 717 jets for an order of 100 units of the 737 Max. he information was reported on the Air Current website and would involve the return of 78 aircraft leased by Boeing itself in addition to another 13 that belong to the airline.
The reason for Delta to consider getting rid of the 717, a version of McDonnell Douglas MD-95, would be the savings obtained by ending payments for the lease of these planes. The coronavirus crisis revealed an unexpected situation, that leased aircraft cost much more without flying than own aircraft.
Delta, in fact, is one of the most prepared airlines for this problem, since it owns 80% of the planes in its fleet, including all the expensive widebodies. There are about 190 leased aircraft, of which 717 represents 40% of the total.
With an average age of 18 years, the Boeing jet should be replaced by the A220, the modern aircraft developed by Bombardier that sold them to Airbus. Both offer 110 seats, but the Canadian jet is extremely efficient.
However, the exchange would even serve for Delta to reduce its costs while taking advantage of the oversupply of the 737 Max, which has already lost hundreds of orders, to get an attractive price. Even if Delta chooses the Max 7 version, the 737 is much larger than the 717 and would not be used on the same routes.
Delta’s concern, however, is to reduce its costs in a short time while it can schedule the delivery of the new planes for a more distant period, when the market is normalized. For Boeing, closing a new deal for the criticized 737 Max sounds like magic, even if it means receiving almost a hundred old planes, whose interest is small.