Delta Orders Additional Airbus A220s

Filed Under: Delta

Of the “big three” US airlines, Delta has the oldest average fleet age (somewhere around 16.1 years, compared to United’s 15 years, and American’s 10.7 years).

I actually think Delta has the right idea. It’s silly to buy new planes when you can instead get older planes and simply maintain them well. For example, I’d fly one of Delta’s 20+ year old Airbus A320s over one of American’s brand new 737 MAXs any day of the week.

Delta’s A320 first class

American’s 737 MAX first class

Anyway, one of the new aircraft type that Delta is investing in is the Airbus A220. This was formerly known as the Bombardier Cseries, but was rebranded thanks to a new joint venture between Airbus and Bombardier.

Delta initially had a total of 75 of these planes on order, though Delta has just placed an order for an additional 15 Airbus A220s, bringing their total fleet to 90 planes:

  • Delta’s fleet will consist of 40 A220-100s and 50 A220-300s
  • Delta has already taken delivery of the first A220-100, and the first A220-300 will join Delta’s fleet in 2020
  • All A220s should be in the Delta fleet by 2023

Delta’s COO had the following to say about this:

“These additional A220 aircraft will continue to strategically enable Delta to refresh our fleet, drive further advances in the customer experience and serve as an excellent investment for our customers, employees and shareowners for Delta into the next decade. We look forward to taking our first A220-300 in 2020 at the Airbus assembly facility in Mobile, Alabama.”

What I find most interesting here is that Delta is increasing their order just shortly before even starting service with the aircraft type. Delta will begin A220 service later this month, so we’re seeing an order just weeks before that.

In the past we’ve sometimes seen airlines order more of an aircraft type after having firsthand experience with it and being pleased with the performance, but I guess Delta is pretty sold on this plane.

What’s also awesome is that this plane will be an absolute pleasure to fly. The A220 offers a phenomenal customer experience, the best of any narrowbody, in my opinion.

First class will be in a typical 2-2 configuration.

Economy will be in a 2-3 configuration, with seats having 18″ of width.

Unlike American, Delta will offer personal televisions at every seat. They will also have high speed Wi-Fi on the plane.

Oh, and unlike the 737 MAX, the lavatories on this plane are not only large, but even have a window.

Kudos to Delta for ordering more of this beautiful aircraft!

  1. I am very excited about this plane.

    Is this a Delta replacement or expansion? Would be nice to see them expand their markets

  2. It’s not about the age of the plane but the configuration. A older configuration for the AA 737 MAX’s would be a much better experience.

    AA continues to not recognize the long-term consequence of the race to the bottom for it’s product.

  3. The middle seat isn’t larger on these planes. Delta decided it could make every seat 18″ wide, not just the middle one. That was some selling point gimmick from Bombardier

  4. Delta has taken delivery of 4 of these I believe.

    Also, is that average fleet age still right? 100 new 739s, 100 new A321s, the 15 A350s…Hasn’t that helped any?

  5. Certainly an upgrade from those skanky 717’s! I flew one of those last week and thought my head would spin off before the flight ended.

  6. Eric/SC,

    I have a rule that I don’t fly rear-engined planes.

    Although I did have a soft spot for the old Lockheed L-1011’s back in the day

  7. I heard Doug Parker is in negotiations to buy the A220 with one row of first class seats, only one bathroom, and 3-3 seating in coach. He said you won’t notice the more narrow seats because they’re just going to remove the armrests. Also, he said there is no need for entertainment because they won’t be putting the plane on flights over seven hours. Main Cabin will have 29″pitch while MCE will enjoy a spacious 30″.

  8. I hope they hurry up and slap some of these on the West Coast. LAX/SFO/PDX/SEA/YVR/LAS would be awesome.

  9. Yet American didn’t install seat back entertainment on their longer range 737 Max planes, I wonder why people fly Amercian

  10. The Mobile, Alabama plant only delivers planes to US customers, though, right? The rest of the world gets theirs from Canada?

  11. @Neil

    Yes, Delta’s average fleet age is actually still 16.1 years right now. That said, the A321s, 739s, and A350s (and new A330s) have dropped it quite a bit already and it will drop quite a bit more over the next few years as more 321s, 739s, A330s, A220s, and A350s enter service, while older 763s, MD-88s, and MD-90s are (finally) retired.

  12. @Ray,

    Probably depends on delivery schedule but Mobile AL assembly plant was designed for US orders to get around Boeing antidumping complaints.

  13. Lucky I’m not so sure you’d be singing the praises of Delta’s mentality of old fleet to make shareholders happy if you were a PAX on one of their md-88s. These delta birds are making an emergency landing once a month on average for failed JT8D engines that spew their guts on the runways. Doesn’t get much press, expect on AvHerald. It should be noted that of the big 3 Delta was the only one not in the top 20 safest worldwide airlines. Yes they are staring to finally replace these crumbling jets… but let’s hope everyone makes it safely home until they do… at least the flight attendants will thank Pax for their loyalty on the exit shoot. Sorry to be so cynical, but there is a lot of delta fawning going on here and not enough credit to the other us airlines for their safety records.

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