Delta adding more used jets to its fleet

Delta’s Airbus A350. Credit: HYOSUB SHIN / HSHIN@AJC.COM
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Delta’s Airbus A350. Credit: HYOSUB SHIN / HSHIN@AJC.COM

Delta Air Lines is adding dozens of used jets to its fleet to replace older and less efficient planes.

Atlanta-based Delta is buying 29 used Boeing 737-900ER jets from funds managed by private investment firm Castlelake LP. The airline already has 130 Boeing 737-900ERs in its fleet.

Delta will lease seven used wide-body Airbus A350-900s from AerCap, adding to its fleet of flagship aircraft used for long-haul international flights.

“These aircraft are an investment in Delta’s future,” said Delta CEO Ed Bastian in a written statement.

The airline retired its wide-body Boeing 777s and narrow-body MD-88 and MD-90 jets last year during the COVID-19 pandemic, saying those planes were “older and less efficient.”

With drastic cutbacks by airlines grounding thousands of planes around the world, the pandemic presented an opportunity “to add newer generation aircraft at attractive prices,” according to Delta, which did not disclose the cost of the planes. The company reported that the additional aircraft would drive an incremental capital expenditure of $700 million in the second half of this year.

The A350s are only a few years old and were previously flown by LATAM, a Delta partner carrier in Latin America, while the 737s had been in Indonesian carrier Lion Air’s fleet and are “gently used,” according to Bastian.

The planes will be delivered by the first quarter of 2022 and will begin flying in the Delta fleet after modifications, according to the airline.

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