Delta to buy used MD-90 jets

Delta Air Lines is buying 11 used MD-90 jets to add to its fleet, although the added capacity will be offset by cuts among other models.

Atlanta-based Delta is buying nine of the twin-engine planes from China Eastern Airlines and has another two used MD-90s on order from Boeing Capital.

All of the planes will join Delta's fleet this year, adding to the 17 MD-90s the airline already has. It was the launch customer for the model in 1995.

Delta did not say how much it is paying for the aircraft.

The orders will make Delta the second-largest operator of MD-90s, behind Saudi Arabian Airlines. Delta's MD-90s have 150 seats, including 12 in first class and 138 in coach.

Despite the additional planes, Delta spokesman Trebor Banstetter also said the company is not adding flight capacity amid slow travel demand. That's because it is pulling so many other aircraft from its fleet, including DC-9s inherited from Northwest Airlines and regional jets. Delta has nearly 800 mainline aircraft in its fleet.

"It's not a growth decision," Banstetter said. The addition of more of the efficient MD-90s, is "much more a fleet management type of move," he said.

"It's certainly a lot more affordable for us than if we were to, say, buy a new 737," Banstetter said. He said the MD-90s will get new interiors.

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