PARIS / CHICAGO (Reuters) – US airline Delta Air Lines (DAL.N) said on Friday it ordered 10 Airbus (AIR.PA) A330neo long-haul aircraft, becoming the first American airline to drive next-generation Airbus aircraft and give rise to the slow-moving European model.
Passengers check in at a Delta Air Lines counter in Mexico City, Mexico, August 8, 2016. REUTERS / Ginnette Riquelme / File Photo
The A330neo purchase, first reported by Reuters, is a welcome approval from an influential buyer to the $ 3 billion jet ticket at list prices.
Nevertheless, it comes to Airbus at the expense of the short-term lag of the A350. As part of the order, Delta said that it shipped the delivery of 10 pricier A350 jets to 2025-26. The agreement includes the right to convert A350 orders to A330-900.
"Extending our A330 order book not only ensures that Dell's immediate medium-term broadband needs are taken care of, but also drives our strategic, measured international growth," said Delta Chief Operating Officer Gil West.
The A330neo is powered by next-generation engine technology from Rolls-Royce (RR.L) that provides better fuel performance and trans-ocean travel intervals, Delta said.
Jeten will have the latest in design and technology and become the first Delta aircraft that includes all cabins: Delta One Suites, Delta Premium Select, Delta Comfort + and Main Cabin.
With the order, Atlanta-based Delta A330 fleet will grow to 35 from 25. It is part of the company's long-term policy to invest 50 percent of operating cash flow back to operations, West said.
For Airbus, the second order for the A330neo is so many weeks after Kuwait Airways ordered eight of the long-range plan in mid-October.
Airbus seeks aggressively more orders for the latest version of its profitable A330 franchise. Sales of the engine-upgraded A330neo model fell under the expectation of strong competition from Boeing Cos (PROHIBIT) Newer Boeing 787.
Industry sources have questioned how far the latest A330neo orders represent new sales for the European aircraft manufacturer because they could lower some previous orders for the A350.
The new generation A350 is a long-term investment in Airbus and competes with Boeing 787 and 777. However, a market source said Airbus was willing to provide some orders for the newer planet to keep the A330neo fluid and prevent production cuts.
Delta currently operates 11 A350-900 aircraft and expects to deliver two A350s in 2019 and two years in 2020. It will retire to older Boeing 767s in coming years when the aircraft reaches the end of their life cycle.
Reporting by Tim Hepher in Paris and Tracy Rucinski in Chicago; Editing Matthias Blamont and David Gregorio