Airlines Delta to furthermore simplify fleet

  • Delta Air Lines

Delta Air Lines has announced, that it will furthermore simplify its fleet by retiring the 777 aircraft and over 50% of the Boeing 717 fleet.

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Due to the current COVID-19 crisis, Delta Air Lines has grounded a majority of its fleet. To ensure profitability after the crisis, the airline has decided to furthermore simplify its aircraft fleet by throwing out the Boeing 777 widebody aircraft and over 50% of the 717 fleet.

Nearly two weeks ago, Delta announced that it will retire its MD-88 and MD-90 aircraft fleets by June this year. Now, the airline stated that the widebody fleet will see changes due to the COVID-19 crisis, too. By the end of 2020, all Boeing 777s will leave the fleet.

Gil West, Delta’s Chief Operating Officer stated: “We’re making strategic, cost-effective changes to our fleet to respond to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic while also ensuring Delta is well-positioned for the recovery on the backside of the crisis [...] The 777 has been a reliable part of Delta’s success since it joined the fleet in 1999 and because of its unique operating characteristics, opened new non-stop, ultra-long-haul markets that only it could fly at that time.”

Delta is currently operating with a fleet of 18 Boeing 777-200s, including 10 of the long-range versions 777-200LR, which arrived in 2008. The first 777 entered the fleet in 1999. In the recent years, several aircraft even received a new cabin.

At the time, the 777 was used for non-stop flights between Atlanta and Johannesburg or Los Angeles and Sidney. These routes could now be taken over by the new Airbus A350 XWB widebody aircraft, of which Delta took over its first aircraft last year. Eight A350s are already in the fleet.

In addition to the 777, Delta also plans to cut its Boeing 717 fleet by over 50%. This could mean, that between 30-40 aircraft could not be taking off again for the carrier. It however is still unclear, if these airframes are going to be reactivated after the pandemic or not.

Over the course of the Coronavirus situation, Delta has parked more than 650 mainline and regional aircraft to adjust the capacity in order to match reduced customer demand.

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