Atlanta-based Delta will be the first U.S. airline to operate the A330-900neo, and expects to take delivery of its first one next year. The new planes will refresh the airline’s fleet as the company retires older Boeing 767-300ERs.
The A330-900s will be the first Delta planes to have memory foam cushions throughout the plane and the first to have four classes of seats: Delta One suites, international premium economy seats, Comfort+ seats with extra legroom and regular economy seats in the main cabin.
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Delta is increasing its orders of the A330s to 35 from 25, while scaling back the number of Airbus A350-900 jets it will have in its fleet in the near term to 15 instead of 25.
The airline operates 11 A350-900s, and plans to take delivery of two more in 2019 and another two in 2020.
The remaining 10 A350s are being deferred until 2025-26, with the ability to convert those orders to A330-900s.
“The A350 has been a great success for our customers and our business,” said Delta chief operating officer Gil West in written statement. “A fleet of 15 of these world-class aircraft is the right current fit for Delta’s industry-leading global network, operational reliability and award-winning products and services.”
Airbus portrayed Delta’s order for more A330s as a win in the competitive market for airliners, where its biggest competition is Chicago-based Boeing. Airbus also indicated a willingness to be accommodating with a major, influential customer.
“Delta has been endorsing the Airbus wide-body family from the outset by committing to both the A330 and the A350. We are listening to our customers and proud to be in the position to flexibly respond to their fleet requirements,” Airbus chief commercial officer Christian Scherer said in a written statement. The order “by one of the world’s largest and most respected airlines validates the economic credentials of our versatile Airbus wide-body family,” he added.
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