Delta to reinforce fleet with 36 used A350 and 737-900 jets

Airline announced leasing of Airbus widebody and acquisition of 29 Boeing models

Delta is closing two deals to incorporate new-generation used aircraft into its fleet, the US carrier announced on Tuesday. The contracts involve 36 jets, seven Airbus A350-900 and 29 Boeing 737-900ER.

The A350s will be leased from AerCap while the 29 737NGs will be purchased from funds managed by Castlelake, L.P. All aircraft are expected to enter service by the first half of 2022, once modified to conform to company standards.

“As we look past the pandemic, Delta’s disciplined, innovative approach to fleet renewal positions us for growth as travel demand returns, while enhancing the customer experience and supporting our sustainability commitments,” said Delta CEO Ed Bastian.

Delta Boeing 737-900ER (Eric Salard/CC)

Dealing for used aircraft was driven by the pandemic, which “provided unique business opportunities to add newer generation aircraft at attractive prices,” Delta explained.

Since last year, the carrier has retired less efficient aircraft such as the 18 Boeing 777 and the MD-88 and MD-90 single-aisle jets.

With the seven A350-900 used, Delta is expected to reach a fleet of 22 widebodies by 2022, not counting 20 aircraft ordered from Airbus. The addition of the 29 Boeing 737-900ER will bring the total units of this model to 159 jets.

Delta also exercised the option to purchase 25 A321neo jets in April and which will start to deliver in 2022.

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