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Delta Spoils NBA Partners With Roomier Jets, Adds 11 Boeing 757-200 to Charter Fleet

Under a new agreement, Delta will add several Boeing 757 to its NBA charter fleet and serve 27 of the league’s 30 teams.

Members of the National Basketball Association will soon receive special treatment in the sky thanks to a new deal inked between the league and Delta Air Lines. Bloomberg reports the legacy carrier will add 11 Boeing 757-200 to the available charter fleet under an agreement that will make Delta the official carrier for 27 of 30 NBA teams.

According to a letter obtained by Bloomberg from NBA attorneys to federal regulators, the new aircraft will join Delta’s current fleet of eight Airbus A319. The 11 Boeing aircraft will be transferred from Delta’s ownership to a private leasing company, which will then lease the aircraft to a trust controlled by the league. As part of the leasing agreement, Delta will have full rights to the aircraft, including use of the aircraft for other charters.

The shift in aircraft potentially means better accommodations for a larger number of athletes. While a standard A319 comes with 124 seats across a two-class configuration, the standard 757-200 can accommodate as many as 228 passengers.

Although the NBA’s letter did not detail how the 11 757-200 would be refitted, previous reports have detailed a high attention to luxury aboard the league’s aircraft. According to a 2012 report by the Wall Street Journal, NBA designated aircraft are outfitted with swiveling business-class seats that have up to 5 feet of pitch.

According to Bloomberg, only three NBA teams will not be served under the new agreement. The Houston Rockets and Miami Heat have their own separate arrangements, while the Dallas Mavericks are flown on a privately-owned Boeing 757.

Representatives from Delta and the NBA declined to comment on the deal.

[Photo: Bloomberg via Wall Street Journal]

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RipCityFlyer July 8, 2015

The current NBA A319 configuration isn't any secret, it's right there in plain view on Delta's website. http://www.delta.com/content/www/en_US/traveling-with-us/airports-and-aircraft/Aircraft/airbus-a319-31c-vip.html

fedup flyer July 7, 2015

The 727 were configured in a 59 seat format.