Delta orders 40 Airbus jets

Delta Air Lines has ordered 40 Airbus planes worth more than $5 billion based on list price, marking the airline’s first purchase from Airbus in more than 20 years.

The order of 10 international wide-body A330-300s and 30 domestic narrow-body A321s will allow Atlanta-based Delta to renew its fleet with the opportunity to expand its flight schedule if demand warrants — while sticking to a conservative, cost-conscious strategy.

The deal does not include orders for the super-jumbo Airbus A380 or other new-generation planes.

Delta chief executive Richard Anderson in a written statement called the agreement “another opportunistic fleet transaction for Delta in which we acquire economically efficient, proven-technology aircraft.”Airlines typically negotiate deals for aircraft well-below list price.

Delta, which inherited Airbus aircraft with its acquisition of Northwest Airlines in 2008, already flies the A330-300, as well as other jets in the A321 family of aircraft.

The new deliveries are scheduled for 2015 through 2017.

Airbus said many of the A321s for Delta will be assembled in Mobile, where Airbus is building a $600 million plant.

Delta already holds orders for 100 Boeing 737-900s and has hundreds of Boeing aircraft in its fleet. But the announcement Wednesday was a rare win for Airbus over Boeing.

“This order marks a strong return to Airbus since Delta’s last order some two decades ago,” the France-based aircraft maker said in a written statement.