Delta Air Lines agreed to purchase 29 used Boeing 737-900ERs and to lease seven used Airbus A350-900s to help replenish its fleet after retiring about 200 aircraft as the coronavirus pandemic scuttled travel demand.
Deliveries of the planes will be completed by the first quarter of 2022, pending unspecified closing conditions and modifications, Atlanta-based Delta said in a statement Tuesday.
See also: Delta Flight Museum reopens in July.
The airline joined other carriers in using the pandemic-driven slowdown to rid fleets of older, costly aircraft and generally moved to larger planes that put more seats on routes and reduced expenses for each seat flown a mile. Delta shaved about two years off of its average fleet age, removed four aircraft types and set plans to retire another 200 planes in coming years, Bloomberg reported.
“These aircraft are an investment in Delta’s future,” Chief Executive Officer Ed Bastian said in the statement.
Delta will lease the wide-body A350s through AerCap Holdings NV, the largest aircraft leasing firm by fleet value, and buy 27 of the single-aisle 737-900ERs from funds managed by Castlelake LP. The two remaining 737-900ERs will be financed from funds also managed by Castlelake, Delta said.
The airline has 15 A350s in service and 20 on order. The 29 737-900ERs will bring the total of that aircraft type in Delta’s fleet to 159.
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