Delta Acquiring Used Airbus A350s & Boeing 737s

Delta Acquiring Used Airbus A350s & Boeing 737s

47

This has been rumored for several weeks, and is now official.

Delta goes on used plane shopping spree

Delta Air Lines has entered into agreements to acquire a total of 36 used aircraft, which are described as supporting Delta’s fleet renewal strategy focused on simplification, scale, size, and sustainability. This includes:

  • Seven Airbus A350-900s, which used to fly for LATAM (the airline has retired all of its A350s); this complements Delta’s existing 35 A350-900s, 15 of which are already flying, and 20 of which are on order
  • 29 Boeing 737-900ERs, which used to fly for Lion Air (the Indonesian airline has a bunch of 737 MAXs on order); this complements Delta’s existing 130 737-900ERs

All of these aircraft will be delivered to Delta by the first quarter of 2022. At that point the planes will be outfitted with Delta’s standard cabins, and after that they’ll enter the service. Even though Delta doesn’t have the youngest fleet out there, customers would never know based on cabin interiors.

The newly acquired A350s will get Delta’s signature cabins

As Delta CEO Ed Bastian describes this strategy:

“These aircraft are an investment in Delta’s future. 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.”

My take on Delta’s aircraft acquisitions

Delta has long had a strategy of getting a deal on used aircraft, and then making the interiors nice. For example, I think most people would rather fly a 30 year old Delta Airbus A319 than an American 737 MAX 8. It’s interesting to contrast that strategy to those of American and United, which brag about how new their planes are.

That being said, in this case these are really only “gently” used planes:

Delta’s strategy makes sense — why pay full price when you can acquire used aircraft for a fraction of the cost?

In the case of the A350-900s, I can’t help but wonder what the math really looks like when you consider:

Delta definitely got a deal on these seven A350s, but what does the math look like when you consider the $62 million paid to undo the A350 purchase, plus the tens of millions spent on reconfiguring 777 cabins? I suppose this is viewed as a sunk cost, but still…

Delta is acquiring gently used A350s

Bottom line

Delta will be acquiring 36 used aircraft, including seven A350-900s and 29 737-900ERs. I imagine Delta got quite a deal on these planes, and once Delta is done reconfiguring them, you’ll never know they flew for another airline from a passenger experience perspective.

I’ve always found Delta’s strategy of acquiring used aircraft to be smart, and this is no exception. Used aircraft are a fraction of the cost of new ones, so when opportunities like these arise, this seems smarter than buying new.

What do you make of Delta’s aircraft acquisitions?

Conversations (47)
Newest comments are displayed first.

The comments on this page have not been provided, reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any advertiser, and it is not an advertiser's responsibility to ensure posts and/or questions are answered.

Type your response here.

If you'd like to participate in the discussion, please adhere to our commenting guidelines. Anyone can comment, and your email address will not be published. Register to save your unique username and earn special OMAAT reputation perks!

  1. MRR

    This article really does demonstrate the strength UAL has to position itself as the leading airline after the pandemic. UAL's confirmed purchase order of 270 Max 8 and Airbus Neos fitted with inflight Wi-Fi and PDE makes Delta's purchase of used aircraft seem like child's play. In just a few years Delta and AA will find themselves in a difficult position trying to compete with UAL product.

  2. TMC

    Correct: United does buy used aircraft for the right price. In the past few years they have added approximately 20 used A319/320 aircraft, a few 737NGs and 767-300`s from Hawaiian

  3. The Black Brent

    Interesting acquisition. This will mean Delta will be operating planes that have flown for Qatar Airways too, that must be a first considering the history between these airlines.

  4. Rob

    The sad irony is that when the A350 was announced US Airways under Doug Parker was to be the launch customer. Then they merged with American and threw away what would have been a very competitive advantage in fuel efficiency and customer experience. Instead we have Oasis.

  5. Sam

    Ford, thought OneMile might want to cover Delta's new/incoming Seattle lounge. No one seems to have picked this up, but it's a big move by delta, especially given how it will tie in with international flights out of Seattle. http://meetings.portseattle.org/portmeetings/attachments/2021/2021_04_27_RM_8f.pdf

  6. Radio

    This transaction makes a lot of sense for Delta on many levels. The used A350 and 737-900s Delta is acquiring are already in its fleet, and are relatively new. United took a very different approach, but probably got a very good deal from both Boeing and Airbus, given the economic conditions. I figure United bought new aircraft because there simply aren't 270 737MAX8s, 10s, and A321NEOs lurking around on the used market.

  7. DLPTATL

    Smart move on Delta's part to get a discount on jets that fit into their existing fleet. The other good thing about buying used is you know when they'll deliver as they're not subject to delivery delays.

    Regarding the 777 retirement issue, a good friend of mine was a pilot for Delta on these birds. They were rare at Delta and generally only did trips to Japan and South Africa with the occasional trip to...

    Smart move on Delta's part to get a discount on jets that fit into their existing fleet. The other good thing about buying used is you know when they'll deliver as they're not subject to delivery delays.

    Regarding the 777 retirement issue, a good friend of mine was a pilot for Delta on these birds. They were rare at Delta and generally only did trips to Japan and South Africa with the occasional trip to AMS or CDG to feed KLM/AF network during peak summer months. He only flew once or twice a month. The reality was that Delta planned to let these very senior (and expensive) captains retire over the next few years alongside their 777s and replace them with 350 and 767 rated pilots for which they had a much greater demand. The pandemic accelerated this plan. Writing off the DeltaOne suites was still a good long term decision as they had only planned to use them for a few years anyway.

    Service to South Africa was the only route that really was disrupted by retiring these planes. The rest of the network functions well with A350s for the longest routes. This is a different calculus for UA in particular as they have many more routes that would bump up against or over the A350 range.

    1. Tim Dunn

      There has been alot of internet hyperbole about the A350 performance but Delta never ordered the A350 as its sole ultra long haul airplane and Airbus didn't offer the performance and range on the A350 until several years after Delta's first deliveries.
      Johannesburg is much more about performance - a 6000 ft airport for a 16 hour flight - than about range. Delta starts JNB-ATL nonstop in a couple weeks on the A350. We'll...

      There has been alot of internet hyperbole about the A350 performance but Delta never ordered the A350 as its sole ultra long haul airplane and Airbus didn't offer the performance and range on the A350 until several years after Delta's first deliveries.
      Johannesburg is much more about performance - a 6000 ft airport for a 16 hour flight - than about range. Delta starts JNB-ATL nonstop in a couple weeks on the A350. We'll all see how it goes.
      There are more flights worldwide over 16 hours operating on A350s right now than on 787s. The 787 is certainly capable of ULH fights but the A350 is currently the choice of global airlines for ultra long haul flights and its larger size is part of the reason. Unlike the B787, the largest version of the A350 (the -1000) has even more range while the 787-10 gives up a lot of range compared to the -9.

  8. Ghostrider5408

    So why are you continuing to pound away at the Max stating that people would rather fly an old 319 versus a new 737MAX where is your supporting data? The Max is performing brilliantly ( finally ) and will continue for years to come. I am not defending Boeing on their premature launch and in general actually I am a critic being with my time in the USAF.

    1. Ronald

      He’s talking about the comfort from a passenger experience and how bad the AA oasis cabins are

    2. Maxpower

      Except that the delta a319 has less legroom in first class vs the max and the same legroom in the back at 30” with some (unknown how many since delta doesn’t say) at 31”.
      And the delta a319s have the exact same type bathrooms as the Max, crammed into the back wall, with a galley, of the 319.
      Cramped cabin? The winner is delta, not the aa max

  9. NSS

    Any Delta announcement about aircraft that doesn't include the word "MAX" is fine by me.

  10. Tim Dunn

    Delta will spend less to get a more fuel efficient fleet than American and United. United is spending 3X more on fleet than American or Delta in part because they clung to small regional jets far too long. The fuel efficiency of the MAX over the 737NG or A321CEO is just over 10%.
    In contrast, the fuel efficiency of the A350-900 or the 787-9 compared to the 777-200 is over 20%. Fuel efficiency matters...

    Delta will spend less to get a more fuel efficient fleet than American and United. United is spending 3X more on fleet than American or Delta in part because they clung to small regional jets far too long. The fuel efficiency of the MAX over the 737NG or A321CEO is just over 10%.
    In contrast, the fuel efficiency of the A350-900 or the 787-9 compared to the 777-200 is over 20%. Fuel efficiency matters the most on longhaul flights. Delta simply prioritized gaining a fuel efficiency advantage on its longest flights. It is still getting new generation domestic narrowbodies with 125 A321NEOS and will have a fleet of 90+ A220s, a category that neither American or United believe is worth pursuing but B6 and Breeze see the value in. The A220-300 will be about the same size as the A319 but 30% plus more fuel efficient.
    As for the cost comparison, the fuel savings for a widebody is about $5 million per year per aircraft. Considering Delta will have more than 50 far more fuel efficient long haul aircraft than American or United (also the A330-300 burns 18% less fuel per seat than the 777-200ER), the cost advantage is over $400 million per year compared to American and twice that compared to United. And AAL and UAL both have nearly 2 dozen pretty new 777-300ERs which will be far less fuel efficient compared to anything in Delta's fleet for at least another decade.
    As for onboard amenities, there is nothing on United's new aircraft that will be nicer than what Delta is offering now.

    1. Gravelly Point Guy

      Wrong wrong wrong again!!Check your facts and sources Dunn!! Two lies and one punch line does NOT equal one truth. UAL will have not only Bluetooth capabilities, but also a 2850 movie library to show on ALL aircraft. SOMETHING DL DOES NOT HAVE.But hey, talking to you is like talking into the wind wasting my time and breath away!! Repeat after me: crappy old used planes, crappy old used planes, crappy old used planes, crappy...

      Wrong wrong wrong again!!Check your facts and sources Dunn!! Two lies and one punch line does NOT equal one truth. UAL will have not only Bluetooth capabilities, but also a 2850 movie library to show on ALL aircraft. SOMETHING DL DOES NOT HAVE.But hey, talking to you is like talking into the wind wasting my time and breath away!! Repeat after me: crappy old used planes, crappy old used planes, crappy old used planes, crappy old used planes, crappy old used planes, crappy old used planes, crappy old used planes, crappy old used planes, crappy old used planes. GetIt??????????

      Ps. I’d rather have a a nice decked out B777 200 ER over a used and smaller and plastique A350. Of which by the way, UAL has 45 of those on their way……ALL BRAND NEW BTW.

    2. Tim Dunn

      well, no, I am not wrong.
      United WILL HAVE hundreds of planes with AVOD while Delta has them now. Given that most of Delta's new AVOD systems are wireless tablet based, adding bluetooth is not that difficult if they decide to do so.
      Having to spend tens of billions of dollars more on aircraft that not just Delta but also American and Southwest is not an advantage even if United gains an advantage...

      well, no, I am not wrong.
      United WILL HAVE hundreds of planes with AVOD while Delta has them now. Given that most of Delta's new AVOD systems are wireless tablet based, adding bluetooth is not that difficult if they decide to do so.
      Having to spend tens of billions of dollars more on aircraft that not just Delta but also American and Southwest is not an advantage even if United gains an advantage with bluetooth.

      The point of business is to maximize returns for the owners of the company and if one company can generate as much or more profits with a smaller asset base, they are a better run company.

    3. TM

      You are comparing UAs future product to what DL currently has, which doesn't make a whole lot of sense. Fact is, in 2021, neither UA or DL have Bluetooth capabilities, but you're at least far more likely to get seatback IFE on a DL domestic flight than UA.

      Plus, you seem awfully caught up on 'crappy' old planes, but you don't really provide any reason as to what makes an old plane crappy. Given a...

      You are comparing UAs future product to what DL currently has, which doesn't make a whole lot of sense. Fact is, in 2021, neither UA or DL have Bluetooth capabilities, but you're at least far more likely to get seatback IFE on a DL domestic flight than UA.

      Plus, you seem awfully caught up on 'crappy' old planes, but you don't really provide any reason as to what makes an old plane crappy. Given a matching new interior, could you provide any reason as to why an older or used aircraft is inherently crappy? Last time I checked, it wasn't crappy old 737NGs that were falling out of the sky and killing hundreds of people. That was the BRAND NEW 737 MAX. I am normally not the type to defend any 737 aircraft, but I'd take a 10 year old NG any day over a MAX.

      P.S. Enjoy those brand new 777s with their 10-abreast economy seating. Or take a flight in one of those ancient 8 year old 787s UA is flying with 9-abreast economy seating. Those passengers in Deltas 4 year old plastique A350s will be jealous of their missed opportunity to get intimate with their seatmates.

    4. Gravelly Point Guy

      Listen TM, using crappy old planes as your backbone costs a lot more crappy dollars in maintenance, parts, overhaul and overall safety and security for passengers. You complain about the Max not being safe, ha ha ha, Yeah, like flying in those crappy old sarcophagus DL flies are ANY safer. Give me a brand new Max plane to fly in any day!Oh and btw, never call UA 787-9 fleet ancient as they are considered brand...

      Listen TM, using crappy old planes as your backbone costs a lot more crappy dollars in maintenance, parts, overhaul and overall safety and security for passengers. You complain about the Max not being safe, ha ha ha, Yeah, like flying in those crappy old sarcophagus DL flies are ANY safer. Give me a brand new Max plane to fly in any day!Oh and btw, never call UA 787-9 fleet ancient as they are considered brand new aircraft. Haha, if we go to those lengths, what would you cal DL shitty old A330 and 767 fleet huh?? Dinosauric? Please give me a break and get back to the bunker!!

    5. TM

      I called the 787 ancient because you seem to have some weird obsession with brand new aircraft. You're complaining that Delta is getting old and used A350s, yet they are several years younger than UAs oldest 787s. UAs first 787 was delivered in September 2012 and the fleet has an average age of 4.3 years. Deltas oldest A350 was July 2017 and the fleet has an average age of 3.1 years. Latams additions are roughly...

      I called the 787 ancient because you seem to have some weird obsession with brand new aircraft. You're complaining that Delta is getting old and used A350s, yet they are several years younger than UAs oldest 787s. UAs first 787 was delivered in September 2012 and the fleet has an average age of 4.3 years. Deltas oldest A350 was July 2017 and the fleet has an average age of 3.1 years. Latams additions are roughly the same age as Deltas current A350s. Thanks for bringing up the 767 though. That gave me a good chuckle considering UA still has over 50 of those in their fleet with an average age of 23.8 years, which is nearly identical to Deltas 23.7 year old 767 fleet.

      Still, you haven't actually made any factual points about old aircraft being crappy. Yes, maintenance costs money, but of course Delta, and the many other airlines that buy used aircraft have determined that the increased maintenance cost is more than offset by the bargain purchase price. You're out of your mind if you think there is the even least bit safety and security concerns with older aircraft. Hundreds, if not thousands, of 20-30 year old commercial jets fly all across the globe every single day, yet aviation is far and away the safest it's ever been.

      And for a little icing on the cake:
      United average fleet age: 16.4
      Delta average fleet age: 14.2
      American average fleet age: 11.4

      Looks like you should be flying American. Covid brought down their average fleet age several years as they retired all remaining MDs, 757s,767s, and A330s in their fleet.

    6. Radio

      @Tim,
      Fuel efficiency isn't the only factor affecting airline costs, although it's a big one. But you seem to have an obsessive focus on that. It's interesting to note that American, against which you obviously have a vendetta, had A330s, some of which were quite new. If the A330 was as superior overall as you allege, why did American retire them early? Another question that comes to mind is why Delta spent millions to...

      @Tim,
      Fuel efficiency isn't the only factor affecting airline costs, although it's a big one. But you seem to have an obsessive focus on that. It's interesting to note that American, against which you obviously have a vendetta, had A330s, some of which were quite new. If the A330 was as superior overall as you allege, why did American retire them early? Another question that comes to mind is why Delta spent millions to refurbish its 777s before retiring them? If the 777 was a big a dog as you allege, it was foolish for Delta to spend money to refurbish them. And Delta's history indicates it's not foolish. Obviously, there are other factors involved. One of which is engines. American seems to have a preference for GE engines. The 777s, 787s, 737MAXs, and A321NEOs are all equipped with GE products. The Airbus 330NEO and 350 don't offer a GE engine. Having similar engines is a huge cost saving in both flexibility and parts inventory. I'm guessing that engine commonality was a factor in Southwest's decision to buy 737-7MAXs in spite of all the speculation that its recent order was Airbus's to lose. But, as with fuel efficiency, engine commonality is only one factor affecting cost and performance. It's important to look at the whole picture, not one or two parts taken out of context.

    7. Tim Dunn

      You are right that engine commonality is a factor for airlines but it better translate into lower costs. Delta has engine overhaul agreements with Rolls Royce and Pratt and Whitney on all of the new generation engines it is buying. American doesn't have that with GE and neither does any other airline with GE/Snecma because GE won't allow carriers to do that work themselves. Delta has had a maintenance cost advantage over other US airlines...

      You are right that engine commonality is a factor for airlines but it better translate into lower costs. Delta has engine overhaul agreements with Rolls Royce and Pratt and Whitney on all of the new generation engines it is buying. American doesn't have that with GE and neither does any other airline with GE/Snecma because GE won't allow carriers to do that work themselves. Delta has had a maintenance cost advantage over other US airlines for years in part because it does the same work for other airlines that it does on its own fleet so it gains cost efficiencies. AA and UA haven't gained any cost advantages by holding onto their 777 fleets or by opting for the 787. They just jumped on those fleets earlier while Delta came up with better deals.

      And labor costs for the big 3 on longhaul flights are pretty comparable. The A350-900's larger size than the 787-9 means better economics and no need to for a 777-300ER size plane which happens to be older generation and less efficient.

    8. MaxPower

      Tim definitely has a weird obsession with a fake fuel efficiency advantage of Delta’s wide body fleet which he gets to by comparing Delta’s new widebodies with United and AA 777s while completely ignoring the 787s that AA and UA have had for far more years than delta has had a350s.

      He also loves to ignore something even Delta is doing in this very article: focusing on ownership cost of old vs new which is...

      Tim definitely has a weird obsession with a fake fuel efficiency advantage of Delta’s wide body fleet which he gets to by comparing Delta’s new widebodies with United and AA 777s while completely ignoring the 787s that AA and UA have had for far more years than delta has had a350s.

      He also loves to ignore something even Delta is doing in this very article: focusing on ownership cost of old vs new which is basically zero for the 777s at UA and AA.

      And my personal favorite “delta simply prioritized gaining a fuel efficiency advantage on its longest flights”
      Right… because aa and ua don’t use the 789 on their longest flights already, like Sydney, or plans for BLR.
      Simple facts: aa and ua prioritized fuel efficiency on long distance flights and have been for years with the 789 while delta used the 77L. Aa and ua prioritized and have prioritized fuel efficiency on long flights, delta is new and late to the game.

      But sure, Tim. Everyone at United and American is dumb as a box of rocks vs Delta… keep spouting your nonsense all over the internet. Delta is getting sued as we speak by the LATAM creditors over the cost of these a350s.

    9. Tim Dunn

      Look at the actual fleet numbers for AA, DL and UA and tell me what percentage of their fleet are 777s. Whether you want to admit it or not, the 777 is the LEAST fuel efficient aircraft in the US airline fleet. There is a reason why most of the foreign carrier 777-200s have been pulled from service and 777-300ERs are heading in the same direction. If you don't like the data I cite, then...

      Look at the actual fleet numbers for AA, DL and UA and tell me what percentage of their fleet are 777s. Whether you want to admit it or not, the 777 is the LEAST fuel efficient aircraft in the US airline fleet. There is a reason why most of the foreign carrier 777-200s have been pulled from service and 777-300ERs are heading in the same direction. If you don't like the data I cite, then look at what other airlines are doing.

      I didn't say a thing about the fuel efficiency about the 787s other than I have noted - not today - that the 787-8 is no more fuel efficient than the 767-300ER according to actual fuel burn data submitted by each of the big 3 to the US DOT. Fuel efficiency for the 787-9 is slightly better than the A350-900 but the A350-900 is larger - which is true for most Airbus to Boeing direct product comparisons - which makes labor efficiency a bigger factor. There are the same number of pilots on an A350-900 and a B787-9; the Airbus just carries about 50 more passengers than UA's 787-9s so labor cost per passenger is less.

      AA and UA signed up for large 777 fleets including end of the run 777-300ERs while DL never had a large 777 fleet and went directly to next generation widebodies.

      I'm not sure why some people have such a hard time accepting that Delta has once again proven it is more adept at fleet planning than American or United. It has been going on for years and there is ample data to show that Delta's fleet strategies work. Southwest also does a very good job of fleet planning. Delta waits for its competitors to move, waits for all of the cards to be put on the table, and then comes up with deals that give it the same or better efficiency at lower costs.

      And the creditors, not Latam, filed the suit and is highly doubtful that they can prove that Latam management intentionally screwed the creditors even before Latam was in bankruptcy. Creditor lawsuits are pretty common but don't necessarily translate into much.

    10. MaxPower

      Nobody said the 777 is the most fuel efficient lol. That doesn’t mean they’re worthless and should be thrown away since they’re paid for.

      You’re in your own world of made up facts and logic again and you’ve once again come up with a single stat in isolation, 777 fuel efficiency absent everything else, and tried to create a false narrative around it.
      Most new and efficient widebodies? AA and United, by far.
      ...

      Nobody said the 777 is the most fuel efficient lol. That doesn’t mean they’re worthless and should be thrown away since they’re paid for.

      You’re in your own world of made up facts and logic again and you’ve once again come up with a single stat in isolation, 777 fuel efficiency absent everything else, and tried to create a false narrative around it.
      Most new and efficient widebodies? AA and United, by far.
      Least new and efficient widebodies? Delta by a shockingly large deficit.
      And yes. It’s LATAM’s creditors, like I wrote.
      Avg wide body age
      DL: 15.05 years
      AA: 11.15
      UA: 14.99

      % new widebodies (787 a330neo or a350)
      DL: 19.16%
      AA: 40%
      UA: 28.6%

      Per their 10-k

      Go find a new place to troll, Tim
      You’re just wrong.

    11. Tim Dunn

      Fleet age doesn't provide any advantage other than bragging rights for aviation fans. Customers don't know the difference nor do they care.
      Fuel efficiency does matter. The A330-300 is more efficient - by 18% - over the 777-200ER.
      If you don't think fuel efficiency matters, let us know what cost elements do matter. Labor costs are similar. Delta spends less on interest expense than American and United. Delta also spends less per seat...

      Fleet age doesn't provide any advantage other than bragging rights for aviation fans. Customers don't know the difference nor do they care.
      Fuel efficiency does matter. The A330-300 is more efficient - by 18% - over the 777-200ER.
      If you don't think fuel efficiency matters, let us know what cost elements do matter. Labor costs are similar. Delta spends less on interest expense than American and United. Delta also spends less per seat mile on maintenance in part because Tech Ops makes its maintenance operation more efficient.

      The principle that you struggle to accept is that Delta is focusing on new generation widebodies -and managed to get a bunch at a discount - even as their remaining widebodies are more efficient than half of AA and UA's international fleet.

      American and United are focused on buying new generation domestic aircraft where cost advantage is a whole lot less and probably doesn't overcome the higher cost of the airplane itself. The fuel efficiency from AA and UA's newer domestic fleet is and will be offset by their higher international fleet.

      Those are facts whether you find them uncomfortable or not.

    12. Maxpower

      It’s like arguing with a brick wall. Enjoy your day, Tim.
      Delta got 7 a350 at a potential discount… 7. How you’re turning this into a strategic new “light and vision from god” strategy by Delta boggles the mind.
      and the LATAM creditors are suing delta over how they got that discount.

      Delta is hardly solely focused on new generation widebodies. They’re simply far behind aa and United on new, fuel efficient widebodies...

      It’s like arguing with a brick wall. Enjoy your day, Tim.
      Delta got 7 a350 at a potential discount… 7. How you’re turning this into a strategic new “light and vision from god” strategy by Delta boggles the mind.
      and the LATAM creditors are suing delta over how they got that discount.

      Delta is hardly solely focused on new generation widebodies. They’re simply far behind aa and United on new, fuel efficient widebodies as a percent of their wide body fleet and theyre slowly trying to catch up. The reason for that is because delta has always focused on lower ownership cost and bought/kept older planes despite lower fuel efficiency.
      Again, delta has the oldest and lowest percent of new generation widebodies of any the US3.
      Age of a widebody fleet does matter because it’s a general gauge of fuel efficiency given technology at the time of aircraft build, not a perfect one, but a general one.
      I don’t get your weird obsession going off on the most successful widebody of all time, the 777, but ok. Have fun. There are plenty of reasons the 777 has outsold the a330 by a lot even though the a340 was the plane built alongside the a330 to be a competitor to the 777 since it’s more comparable to the 777 in capability and mission types.

      It’s certainly very normal for you to find one small stat out of context and try to turn it into a delta propaganda tool.

    13. Tim Dunn

      Aircraft age doesn't matter as much as you want to believe otherwise. Operating cost does. The A330-300 produces the most capacity in Delta's international operations and it costs less to operate than either model of the 777.

      I have two simple questions for you if you think that the 777-200ER and the -300ER are still economically viable. actually 3.

      How many -200ERs has Boeing sold since the 787-9 began service? Same for the -300ER...

      Aircraft age doesn't matter as much as you want to believe otherwise. Operating cost does. The A330-300 produces the most capacity in Delta's international operations and it costs less to operate than either model of the 777.

      I have two simple questions for you if you think that the 777-200ER and the -300ER are still economically viable. actually 3.

      How many -200ERs has Boeing sold since the 787-9 began service? Same for the -300ER compared to the offering of the 777X (still not in service).

      How many of each of those types are still in service with airlines worldwide, esp. the -200ER? (it doesn't matter how successful the 777 WAS but how successful it is now).

      And, if the 777 is still economically comparable to other aircraft, why did AA and UA bother to order 787s -and now have only those aircraft on order in their widebody order book?

      It is absolutely relevant to discuss why Delta got rid of its 777 fleet during the pandemic and is rebuilding its international fleet with all new generation aircraft. and they managed to pick up gently used A350s. And they most certainly are getting them at a bargain. If AA and UA manage to do the same with 787s, it should absolutely be a point of discussion.

    14. MaxPower

      You're asking me why airlines don't order the 77E or 77W today when there's a 787 they could order? I don't know. Ask United. They ordered the 77W while 789s were being actively delivered to them.
      The gist of your question is like asking why airlines stopped ordering the 757 and started ordering the A321 or 739... Because there was newer technology. Also why Boeing is making a 77X, because they needed to compete...

      You're asking me why airlines don't order the 77E or 77W today when there's a 787 they could order? I don't know. Ask United. They ordered the 77W while 789s were being actively delivered to them.
      The gist of your question is like asking why airlines stopped ordering the 757 and started ordering the A321 or 739... Because there was newer technology. Also why Boeing is making a 77X, because they needed to compete with newer technology.
      Why does Delta keep their 757s? Your line of logic just makes no sense. AA and UA already have vastly more efficient new wide bodies than Delta and you're creating a false narrative that Delta alone saw the light from god by getting rid of the 777s during the pandemic because it was a small fleet and now that they're gone, the 777 is somehow the worst plane on earth to you that every carrier should eliminate tomorrow.
      AA got rid of their small A330 fleet during the Pandemic. Delta got rid of their small 777 fleet. Economies of scale matter for each carrier.
      You have no idea what United or AA pay for their 787s as a percent of sales price just like you have no idea what Delta pays for their new A350s or their used ones. So stop pretending that you do.
      You truly just love to argue for the sake of arguing.

    15. Tim Dunn

      Max.
      you apparently are not aware that US airlines do file their cost data in detail with the US DOT so it is very possible to know how much each airline spends on each fleet type.
      Fleet commonality does matter but so does making good economic decisions. How is that American couldn't make the 767 work economically but Delta and United still do - and intend to make that plane (actually both the...

      Max.
      you apparently are not aware that US airlines do file their cost data in detail with the US DOT so it is very possible to know how much each airline spends on each fleet type.
      Fleet commonality does matter but so does making good economic decisions. How is that American couldn't make the 767 work economically but Delta and United still do - and intend to make that plane (actually both the 767-300ER and -400) work for years to come?
      It is absolutely relevant to note that sales of an older model of aircraft usually fall off when a newer model is introduced. and for good reason. Sales of the 777 fell off as new models came into place - and most of the 777-200ER have been removed from passenger service.
      The 777 is a heavy aircraft relative to other aircraft which is why it burns so much more fuel. Boeing is trying to fix its economics by making it a much bigger aircraft in the 777X program - but there are fewer and fewer airlines that need a plane that big.
      Used or last generation narrowbody aircraft don't have a operating economics penalties near as large as exist for older widebodies and Delta is taking an advantage of that.
      No airline can replace every fleet type as soon as something new comes out but there are good solid data that can be used to make a decision to determine where it makes the most sense to spend your money.
      You struggle to admit that Delta sat back and repeatedly watched what American and United have done esp. with its widebody fleet and Delta gained an advantage, not just in the size of their B777 fleets but also the acquisition of the B787 vs. the A350 and now in moving to a new generation long haul fleet.
      Delta will have a significant cost advantage on its international ops but it isn't the end of the world; AA and UA know what they face while DL knows the advantage they have. You and I and others that care just get to sit back and see how it plays out.

    16. Maxpower

      I’m well aware of what is published and what isn’t. Any indication of price/aircraft isn’t published publicly in any accurate way because of contracts with airbus and Boeing.
      Per the rest of your reply… enjoy your opinions. That’s all they are. Wacky ones at that.
      Enjoy your day.

    17. Tim Dunn

      Max,
      publicly traded companies are required to divulge the commitments they have made, including the value of aircraft they are buying - not at list prices but at the price the airline is paying.
      There are already some sharp eyes that have calculated what Delta is paying for the 29 737-900ERs because it is the only new aircraft commitments Delta added over the last quarter and Delta had to adjust their financial commitments.

      Max,
      publicly traded companies are required to divulge the commitments they have made, including the value of aircraft they are buying - not at list prices but at the price the airline is paying.
      There are already some sharp eyes that have calculated what Delta is paying for the 29 737-900ERs because it is the only new aircraft commitments Delta added over the last quarter and Delta had to adjust their financial commitments.
      Based on what Delta has said, they are paying about $17.5 million for each 737-900ER and others have tracked these to be aircraft that are no more than 5 years old and ordered by Lion Air. If so, Delta is getting a heck of a deal. Nearly all 737-900ERs in service are operated by US airlines so there wasn't a whole lot of competition for who would take these planes.
      So, yes, it is possible to figure out the financials just from the SEC filings that publicly traded companies make.
      In addition, however, US airlines are required to file detailed cost information by fleet type and it is precisely on that basis that it is possible to figure out what aircraft and airlines spend to operate specific fleets.
      I trust our conversation has helped alot of people expand their knowledge.

    18. Maxpower

      Except they are not required and do not publish that sort of proprietary data in any way. You think Boeing and airbus want an easy way for airlines to figure out what others are paying?

      You really need to do research. I hope our conversation has helped a lot of people learn one thing about your credentials and constant “fact presentations” based on nothing: delta fired you and there is a good reason for it,...

      Except they are not required and do not publish that sort of proprietary data in any way. You think Boeing and airbus want an easy way for airlines to figure out what others are paying?

      You really need to do research. I hope our conversation has helped a lot of people learn one thing about your credentials and constant “fact presentations” based on nothing: delta fired you and there is a good reason for it, because you constantly make up things and present them as fact.

    19. Radio

      It's probably not a stretch to assume United got a pretty sweet deal from Boeing and Airbus. I also tend to think one of the reasons United ordered new aircraft is because there aren't 270 used A321s and Boeing 737 MAXs on the used market.

  11. Bob

    What is the tail number format for an aircraft that was truly ordered and delivered to DL? Does it end with DL or DN? Since DL acquires aircraft from so many other airlines, it is hard to know what was truly ordered by DL. Yes, I know, it's a picky question :-)

    1. steve64

      The only thing that can be determined from an aircraft's registration is the country it's registered in. IE, all planes registered in the USA start with "N".

      The remainder of the registration number is essentially free text so the "format" does not reflect ownership, past or present. A plane registered as "NxxxDL" isn't necessarily owned or operated by Delta. True, many airlines try to get series of numbers pre-allocated to them so it may appear...

      The only thing that can be determined from an aircraft's registration is the country it's registered in. IE, all planes registered in the USA start with "N".

      The remainder of the registration number is essentially free text so the "format" does not reflect ownership, past or present. A plane registered as "NxxxDL" isn't necessarily owned or operated by Delta. True, many airlines try to get series of numbers pre-allocated to them so it may appear as if the "format" has an algorithm, but in a legal sense it doesn't.

  12. Gravelly Point Guy

    Ben…Just remember…UAL product is going to be, if not already, superior to DL. Not to mention AA’s. Brand NEW aircraft with ALL of Delta’s existing amenities and then some. Just remember…Over 525 brand new aircraft over the course of 4 years plus the reconfiguring of the existing fleet. You’re right, you won’t know the difference when you fly UA as opposed to crappy AA and DL.

    1. Jkjkjk

      All the new hard product of new UA fleets won’t compensate over soft product on DL. UA and AA are far inferior.
      I’d take A350, A220 any day over the dreamliner or Max.

    2. Gravelly Point Guy

      Lies, lies, lies. Again, retro crappy old planes DO NOT make for a premium airline. And, BTW, what DL soft product?? There isn’t any it’s all gone except for the stupid DL bites which are nothing short of a bad joke! As for the hard product and brand new planes, just ask UAL, a far SUPERIOR PRODUCT as to what Delta’s used second hand fleet could ever offer!

  13. MaxPower

    “ I think most people would rather fly a 30 year old Delta Airbus A319 than an American 737 MAX 8. ”
    Except if you’re in first class where the max has 37” seat pitch while the delta 319 is 35-37”. Both have economy seat pitch at 30”, aa at 30” while delta is 30-31”. The max is guaranteed to have high speed wifi, the delta a319 may or may not yet.
    Not...

    “ I think most people would rather fly a 30 year old Delta Airbus A319 than an American 737 MAX 8. ”
    Except if you’re in first class where the max has 37” seat pitch while the delta 319 is 35-37”. Both have economy seat pitch at 30”, aa at 30” while delta is 30-31”. The max is guaranteed to have high speed wifi, the delta a319 may or may not yet.
    Not sure why you go off on the AA max so much. The only thing it doesn’t have is seatback IFE which is different, but the way you go off on the max seat layout is kind of weird given delta has less room up front and generally the same in the back.

  14. Nate nate

    So Lion Air is selling its 737-800 NG because they have 737-Max on order? Odd that Lion Air is now a fan of the Max

  15. Al

    it's incredible that all these airlines that were on the brink of collapse 18 months ago are in such strong positions now. Almost like they never actually truly needed the money and the money should have gone to small businesses

    1. DLPTATL

      I think a lot of coverage in the media, blogs, and comments sections have missed the point on the "airline bailouts". These dollars weren't going to the airlines as much as they were going to their, largely unionized, pilots, FAs, gate agents, baggage handlers, mechanics, etc. Didn't everyone see Sara Nelson on every morning show for months asking for these bailout funds? This was a way to keep the airlines from slashing payrolls and putting...

      I think a lot of coverage in the media, blogs, and comments sections have missed the point on the "airline bailouts". These dollars weren't going to the airlines as much as they were going to their, largely unionized, pilots, FAs, gate agents, baggage handlers, mechanics, etc. Didn't everyone see Sara Nelson on every morning show for months asking for these bailout funds? This was a way to keep the airlines from slashing payrolls and putting these skilled and highly skilled workers on unemployment. It also had the added benefit for travelers as the airlines have been able to add back capacity at a faster rate than if they were having to hire/re-hire staff, train/re-train, etc.

    2. Al

      Yes and no. It's true most of it went to employees (I think), but it also assumes that airlines would have engaged in massive layoffs otherwise. Airlines are run by very smart people who know what they're doing and they know how long it would take to build back up their workforce if they did engage in massive layoffs.

      I'm not saying they wouldn't have laid people off. They would have. But presumably the...

      Yes and no. It's true most of it went to employees (I think), but it also assumes that airlines would have engaged in massive layoffs otherwise. Airlines are run by very smart people who know what they're doing and they know how long it would take to build back up their workforce if they did engage in massive layoffs.

      I'm not saying they wouldn't have laid people off. They would have. But presumably the cost benefit analysis of taking out lines of credit in order to maintain enough staff to be able to ramp up would not have been so straightforward and so the notion that the money saved massive layoffs is, in my opinion,an assumption.

      Also, if airlines hadn't engaged in aggressive share buyback programs they would have had more runway up front when covid first hit and would have needed less money from the government.

    3. Milo

      These purchases won't hit their cash flow for some time, but payroll costs are immediate and recurring cash drains. When they asked for bailout money, there was no end in sight for the pandemic. Many simply wouldn't believe vaccines would be available in such recording breaking time. Taking out lines of credit (at presumably higher than usual interest rates given the business climate) to keep payroll running is usually a path to Chapter 11 or...

      These purchases won't hit their cash flow for some time, but payroll costs are immediate and recurring cash drains. When they asked for bailout money, there was no end in sight for the pandemic. Many simply wouldn't believe vaccines would be available in such recording breaking time. Taking out lines of credit (at presumably higher than usual interest rates given the business climate) to keep payroll running is usually a path to Chapter 11 or worse.

      Hindsight is 20/20. With near zero interest rates, sitting on a pile of cash wasn't doing a business any good. Share buyback program is a good way to keep shareholders happy. Nothing can prepare any business for a once-in-a-century black swan event. You react and adapt.

    4. Al

      US airlines spent 96% of their free cash flow on share buy backs in the decade leading up to COVID (https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2020-03-16/u-s-airlines-spent-96-of-free-cash-flow-on-buybacks-chart). This isn't an issue of airlines having not been prepared for a black swan event like covid, they weren't prepared for almost any sort of industry downturn.

      If you still don't believe me, look no further than Doug Parker's infamous "We'll never lose money again" statement. In the 5 years between 2014 to...

      US airlines spent 96% of their free cash flow on share buy backs in the decade leading up to COVID (https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2020-03-16/u-s-airlines-spent-96-of-free-cash-flow-on-buybacks-chart). This isn't an issue of airlines having not been prepared for a black swan event like covid, they weren't prepared for almost any sort of industry downturn.

      If you still don't believe me, look no further than Doug Parker's infamous "We'll never lose money again" statement. In the 5 years between 2014 to 2019, American spent 12.4 Billion in share buy backs (https://www.forbes.com/sites/aalsin/2020/04/24/stock-buybacks-made-corporations-vulnerable-then-the-coronavirus-struck/?sh=20aa5af0aa88) and that is just american and just over those 5 years.

      this isn't an issue of airlines not being ready for a black swan event. this is an issue of airlines not being ready for almost any downturn. Spare me the hindsight is 20/20 nonsense.

      Even had these airlines been more responsible, would government money have been needed? Probably.

      Too nearly the same extent? No.

      Did American taxpayers end up subsidizing a decade of share buybacks? Yes

      Is the statement "Share buyback program is a good way to keep shareholders happy." at all relevant to this conversation? No.

    5. Al

      Airlines spent 96% of their free cash flow on share buybacks in the 10 years prior to covid. Between 2014-2019, American Airlines alone bought back 12.4 Billion dollars in shares. And that's just one airline, over 5 years. Between 2015- 2020 Delta, American Airlines, United, Southwest and Alaska spent 45 Billion dollars in share buy backs.

      This isn't an issue of airlines not prepared for a black swan event. This was an issue of...

      Airlines spent 96% of their free cash flow on share buybacks in the 10 years prior to covid. Between 2014-2019, American Airlines alone bought back 12.4 Billion dollars in shares. And that's just one airline, over 5 years. Between 2015- 2020 Delta, American Airlines, United, Southwest and Alaska spent 45 Billion dollars in share buy backs.

      This isn't an issue of airlines not prepared for a black swan event. This was an issue of airlines not being prepared for any sort of down turn at all. The American Airlines CEO went on the record and even proclaimed that American Airlines would never loose money again.

      The airlines acted recklessly because they thought they were too big to fail (thanks largely to the powerful unions that their work forces are apart of) and that bet paid off big. In the end, it was the American taxpayers who ended up subsidizing 10 years worth of share buybacks.

      While hindsight might be 20/20, this has nothing to do with that. Had airlines been responsible with their free cash flow and saved some of it for a rainy day they would not have required nearly as much money from the federal government. Note I am not saying "had they not done any share buybacks". Fundamentally I don't have a problem with share buy backs within reason.

      When you are a company in an industry that very consistently has some sort of decline every 10 years, there is just no excuse for spending 96% of your free cash flow on share buybacks.

    6. Al

      Also, I am going to pretend you didn't actually say "Share buyback program is a good way to keep shareholders happy" as some kind of defense of the airlines. Probably not your strongest argument.

Featured Comments Load all 47 comments Most helpful comments ( as chosen by the OMAAT community ).

The comments on this page have not been provided, reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any advertiser, and it is not an advertiser's responsibility to ensure posts and/or questions are answered.

Milo

These purchases won't hit their cash flow for some time, but payroll costs are immediate and recurring cash drains. When they asked for bailout money, there was no end in sight for the pandemic. Many simply wouldn't believe vaccines would be available in such recording breaking time. Taking out lines of credit (at presumably higher than usual interest rates given the business climate) to keep payroll running is usually a path to Chapter 11 or worse. Hindsight is 20/20. With near zero interest rates, sitting on a pile of cash wasn't doing a business any good. Share buyback program is a good way to keep shareholders happy. Nothing can prepare any business for a once-in-a-century black swan event. You react and adapt.

DLPTATL

I think a lot of coverage in the media, blogs, and comments sections have missed the point on the "airline bailouts". These dollars weren't going to the airlines as much as they were going to their, largely unionized, pilots, FAs, gate agents, baggage handlers, mechanics, etc. Didn't everyone see Sara Nelson on every morning show for months asking for these bailout funds? This was a way to keep the airlines from slashing payrolls and putting these skilled and highly skilled workers on unemployment. It also had the added benefit for travelers as the airlines have been able to add back capacity at a faster rate than if they were having to hire/re-hire staff, train/re-train, etc.

Jkjkjk

All the new hard product of new UA fleets won’t compensate over soft product on DL. UA and AA are far inferior. I’d take A350, A220 any day over the dreamliner or Max.

Meet Ben Schlappig, OMAAT Founder
4,523,713 Miles Traveled

25,807,500 Words Written

28,675 Posts Published

Keep Exploring OMAAT
  • March 26, 2021
  • Ben Schlappig
23
Delta Expanding In Iceland This Summer
  • December 25, 2020
  • Ben Schlappig
33
Embarrassing: Delta’s Christmas Meltdown