Order for 100 Airbus A320 and Boeing 737 family aircraft could top $12 billion.
Delta Air Lines could add more new aircraft to their fleet, according to sources inside the company. Bloomberg reports that the Atlanta-based carrier wants to expand the number of narrowbody airframes by 100, split between the Airbus A320 and Boeing 737 families. The estimated value of the order is approximately $12.7 billion, potentially making it one of the richest aircraft deals to date.
As Delta begins retiring their aging fleet of McDonnell Douglas MD-90 aircraft, the airline is evaluating options for newer aircraft. According to insiders at the company, the leading candidates are Boeing’s 737 Max airframes, including the Max 8 and Max 10, and the Airbus A320neo and A321neo. Although a decision was expected to be announced in 2018, the anonymous sources tell Bloomberg the order could be secured sooner rather than later.
The order comes as Boeing and Delta have found themselves on opposite sides of critical aviation arguments. Delta was disappointed over Boeing campaigning for higher tariffs on the Bombardier C-Series aircraft, while Delta has called for a review of Open Skies agreements in the Middle East over alleged subsidies. The Middle East carriers are some of Boeing’s largest customers.
Despite the politics, Boeing is playing nice to continue their relationship with Delta. During the 2017 third quarter earnings call, Boeing chief executive Dennis Muilenburg called Delta a “very important customer,” and said they want to continue “…to work with them and support them for the future.”
Delta’s pending order is the latest on what has been a recent buying spree for the carrier. In June 2017, the airline added 10 more Airbus A321 aircraft to an existing order, after purchasing 75 Bombardier C-Series 100 aircraft in 2016 and choosing the Airbus A350 to replace some long-haul Boeing Aircraft starting this year.