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Delta Adds More Airbus A321neo Airframes to Fleet Renewal Plan

Once again, Delta Air Lines is snubbing Boeing in favor of next-generation Airbus narrowbody aircraft for their fleet renewal project. The Atlanta-based carrier is adding 30 orders for Airbus A321neo airframes to their standing order, which will ensure new deliveries through 2027.

Delta Air Lines will continue to partner with Airbus for their fleet renewal, adding more A321neo aircraft to their current standing order. In a press release, the Atlanta-based carrier announced they are adding 30 more orders for the next-generation airframe, bringing their total commitment to 155.

Additional Orders Part of Commitment to Sustainable Air Travel

The additional 30 orders serve two purposes for Delta: Renewal for their aging fleet combined with future environmental sustainability. While the new aircraft will provide a better customer experience with a custom interior, the A321neo also offers better fuel efficiency and lower emissions than the aircraft they will replace. Powered by Pratt & Whitney engines, the new airframes are expected to improve fuel efficiency per-seat by 12 percent compared to the A321ceo.

“Adding these aircraft strengthens Delta’s commitment to replacing older fleets with more sustainable, fuel-efficient jets, and offers the best customer experience in the industry,” Mahendra Nair, Delta senior vice president of fleet and TechOps supply chain, said in a statement. “Delta appreciates the extensive partnership with the Airbus team in support of our strategic growth plans, and we look forward to continuing to work together throughout the recovery and in the years ahead.”

Under the plan, Delta will receive their first A321neo sometime in the first six months of 2022, with deliveries continuing through 2027. Instead of coming from France, most of the orders will be fulfilled by the Airbus facility based in Mobile, Alabama. The interiors will be fitted with 194 seats in two cabins, including 20 first class and 42 Delta Comfort+ seats.

The order marks the second time this year Delta has added to their total order with Airbus and snubbed Chicago-based aerospace giant Boeing. In April 2021, the carrier opted to convert 25 A321neo options into firm orders, despite Boeing reportedly attempting to sell finished 737 MAX airframes to the carrier.

Delta Moves Forward With Orders Despite Anxiety Over COVID-19

Delta’s order comes as flyers are growing more anxious over a third wave of the COVID-19 virus, including the Delta Variant. According to analysis from Bank of America, airline bookings during the week of August 15 decreased by over 50 percent compared to the same time in 2019, marking a four-week decrease spurred by concerns over the virus.

Feature Image Courtesy: Airbus and Delta Air Lines

JAGorham August 25, 2021

"...the new airframes are expected to improve fuel efficiency per-seat by 12 percent compared to the A321ceo." Let's hope that isn't only because they can cram more seats in than in the earlier versions of the plane.