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US-company Delta Air Lines announced an order for an additional 37 Airbus A321ceo´s, bringing the total number ordered by Delta to a staggering 83 examples. These new A321s will be used to replace parts of the faithful MD-88-fleet. The first A321-aircraft was delivered in March 2016 and the first revenue-service is planned for May 2nd, 2016.
Delta CEO Ed Bastian told to the press:
“The Airbus A320 family of aircraft continues to be a cost-efficient, reliable and customer-pleasing mainstay of our narrow-body fleet...” ...“The order for the A321s is an opportunistic fleet move that enables us to produce strong returns and cost-effectively accelerate the retirement of Delta’s 116 MD-88s in a capital efficient manner.”
Yesterday, Delta Air Lines signed an order for up to 125 Bombardier CSeries-aircraft, including 75 firm orders and 50 options. Despite several articles and opinions from "experts" in several aviation-related forums, there is - at the moment - no official statement, that the CSeries will replace the Boeing 717 at Delta. First deliveries are planned for spring 2018.
The decisions by Delta to order additional Airbus A321s and the landmark-order for the Bombardier CSeries are remarkable moves fleet-wise. It surely allows maximum flexibility and new opportunities for Delta. The MD-88-fleet (with an average age of 25 years) will be gradually reduced, possibly through a mix of smaller- and bigger-sized aircraft. There are no official statements that the MD-90 and Boeing 717 are due for retirement at Delta.
Chances of major upgrades for the MD-88-fleet are dwindling due to the decision of Delta to move ahead and to shrink their MD-88-fleet during the next years. I am not aware of an official schedule of Delta MD-88-retirements. I would be pleased to get some information. Thank you.