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Report: Delta considering trading 717s to Boeing for 737MAX jets

Report: Delta considering trading 717s to Boeing for 737MAX jets

Old Apr 21, 20, 3:54 pm
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Report: Delta considering trading 717s to Boeing for 737MAX jets

There is scant information available unless you're a subscriber to The Air Current, but this tweet from respected aviation journalist Jon Ostrower is a real mind-bender.


Link to his site/story: https://t.co/vp1LLPVxyv

It makes some sense, in that Boeing Capital is the owner of most of the 717s, and some of the leases are coming due. I'm sure it's not a straight trade, I'm sure Delta still pays something, but it's interesting to see Delta trying to leverage its 717s into new MAX jets.
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Old Apr 21, 20, 4:01 pm
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I hope not. I will never fly that frankenplane.
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Old Apr 21, 20, 4:07 pm
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I fly Delta in part specifically because they do NOT fly the 737-Max. At the very least Boeing needs a new name for these planes.
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Old Apr 21, 20, 4:10 pm
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Originally Posted by jrkmsp View Post
It makes some sense, in that Boeing Capital is the owner of most of the 717s, and some of the leases are coming due. I'm sure it's not a straight trade, I'm sure Delta still pays something, but it's interesting to see Delta trying to leverage its 717s into new MAX jets.
Mind-bending is the right term. I don't see how this swap would make any sense (not ever really, but especially not now) for DL unless they can get Boeing to give them a one-for-one closed-purse swap (and I think there only are about 90 717s?). It would be a massive shift in their domestic fleet. +50% in seat capacity per unit and over-sized and over-ranged for almost all 717 missions. No one has any clue what air travel will look like post-COVID, and for now the only prudent things seems to be to take out older planes sooner than planned. Respected journalist or not, I smell clickbait.
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Old Apr 21, 20, 4:23 pm
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Originally Posted by woodenshoe101 View Post
Mind-bending is the right term. I don't see how this swap would make any sense (not ever really, but especially not now) for DL unless they can get Boeing to give them a one-for-one closed-purse swap (and I think there only are about 90 717s?). It would be a massive shift in their domestic fleet. +50% in seat capacity per unit and over-sized and over-ranged for almost all 717 missions. No one has any clue what air travel will look like post-COVID, and for now the only prudent things seems to be to take out older planes sooner than planned. Respected journalist or not, I smell clickbait.
It actually makes even more sense when you play it out, as per Ed Russell (formerly of FlightGlobal, now at The Points Guy):

DL exits the 717s, backfills them with A220s initially, then in a few years begins taking 737 MAX whose issues have long since been forgotten by the majority of the public. It’s brilliant really. Gets rid of inefficient planes today for new, efficient ones when they’re needed.
If you're betting the aviation industry doesn't recover until sometime in 2021, this chops 91 planes out of your fleet and then you start adding back when the recovery is ready. And it solves for the need to replace the aging A320s...
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Old Apr 21, 20, 6:29 pm
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Originally Posted by jrkmsp View Post
It makes some sense, in that Boeing Capital is the owner of most of the 717s, and some of the leases are coming due. I'm sure it's not a straight trade, I'm sure Delta still pays something, but it's interesting to see Delta trying to leverage its 717s into new MAX jets.
If there is a trade happening, it's the opposite of what you think.. terminating the lease obligations (which is a real ongoing cashflow expense Delta has to pay every month/quarter) in return for commitment for purchases in the future would be the deal that is happening here - Delta is basically paying Boeing to terminate the lease, not the other way around. I love the 717s but they are a dead-end airframe not worth more than scrap to Boeing when repossessed.

That said, Boeing is barely in a better cashflow position than Delta so I'm somewhat skeptical of this deal. Then again, perhaps Boeing believes the large confidence boost from a big 737MAX order from Delta would outweigh the small cashflow value of the 717 leases.
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Old Apr 21, 20, 6:48 pm
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I'd believe when I see it. I am sure they will trade 717 to 737-MAX.

Let the speculation begin!
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Old Apr 21, 20, 7:06 pm
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I find it a little puzzling unless Delta expects some kind of travel boom in the next 1.5-5ish years. That said, airfares are lower than ever before...

Originally Posted by jrkmsp View Post
If you're betting the aviation industry doesn't recover until sometime in 2021, this chops 91 planes out of your fleet and then you start adding back when the recovery is ready. And it solves for the need to replace the aging A320s...
That's exactly what I was thinking. This gets rid of the A320s, possibly A319s, and will likely outlive the A321s. In 15 years from now they could be down to a single narrowbody fleet type.

The MAX is a phenomenal plane that had some [devastatingly major] software glitches (though I still think at least one of the accidents could have been prevented, or mitigated). Many airlines are having major W&B issues with their NEOs, not to mention engine problems. It is a miracle that a NEO has not fallen out of the sky yet. With all of the scrutiny Boeing is facing, the MAX is very likely to be the safest plane in the sky when it reenters service.

-J.
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Old Apr 21, 20, 7:38 pm
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If this is true, I’m guessing DL is planning on or will be getting a pretty sweet deal (price) on these birds between the 737 MAX’s prior woes with the further exacerbation to slumping sales due to COVID-19. While I’m hesitant to want to fly on a 737 MAX for some time even after the grounding is lifted and would much prefer the T-tails over just about any 737 due to the 2-3 layout versus the cramped 737, from DL’s perspective it would also allow DL to consolidate its fleet, if they end up replacing MD-88s, MD-90s, and now possibly the 717s, all on (what I assume) would be the cheap.
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Old Apr 21, 20, 7:43 pm
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Originally Posted by ethernal View Post
If there is a trade happening, it's the opposite of what you think.. terminating the lease obligations (which is a real ongoing cashflow expense Delta has to pay every month/quarter) in return for commitment for purchases in the future would be the deal that is happening here - Delta is basically paying Boeing to terminate the lease, not the other way around. I love the 717s but they are a dead-end airframe not worth more than scrap to Boeing when repossessed.

That said, Boeing is barely in a better cashflow position than Delta so I'm somewhat skeptical of this deal. Then again, perhaps Boeing believes the large confidence boost from a big 737MAX order from Delta would outweigh the small cashflow value of the 717 leases.
Under ordinary non-COVID circumstances, there is a small chance Hawaiian would be interested in some of the 717s for intra-Hawaii flying - there really isn't a great alternative for that unusual mission available right now. I doubt they're interested in acquiring many new airplanes right now - but Boeing might be willing to cut them a screaming deal on these if they're already looking at writing off the lease cost as an acceptable price of obtaining a large new 737MAX order.

At a bare minimum, I wouldn't be shocked if Boeing keeps some low-cycle examples around rather than immediately scrapping them all. HA has already replaced high cycle 717s with used ones a few times, and they could very well be interested in doing that again down the road with Delta's castoffs at the right price.
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Old Apr 21, 20, 7:50 pm
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Would they have some policy for last minute swaps?

One of the main reasons why Iím loyal to Delta and its partners is because they donít fly the 737 max coffin.

I will always refuse to fly that plane. What recourse can passengers have if they intentionally buy a more expensive ticket NOT to fly MAX, but then Delta swaps it?

Getting Max would be a huge mistake for Delta. I hope itís not going to materialize.
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Old Apr 21, 20, 7:55 pm
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Originally Posted by BenA View Post
Under ordinary non-COVID circumstances, there is a small chance Hawaiian would be interested in some of the 717s for intra-Hawaii flying - there really isn't a great alternative for that unusual mission available right now. I doubt they're interested in acquiring many new airplanes right now - but Boeing might be willing to cut them a screaming deal on these if they're already looking at writing off the lease cost as an acceptable price of obtaining a large new 737MAX order.

At a bare minimum, I wouldn't be shocked if Boeing keeps some low-cycle examples around rather than immediately scrapping them all. HA has already replaced high cycle 717s with used ones a few times, and they could very well be interested in doing that again down the road with Delta's castoffs at the right price.
It's certainly true that Hawaiian needs something with an engine that can do their 20 minute turns day-in-and-day-out with. But at most that is 5-7 lower cycle frames. Delta's 717 fleet of 90 is 50% larger than Hawaii's entire fleet (which only has 20 717s). Hawaiian already has enough 717s with enough cycles left to last another 10-15 years so even in "normal" times there is only so much justification they can do to acquire even more 717 frames.

So, maybe there is value slightly above scrap. But we're talking de minimus. Boeing would view this entirely as a cost with very little asset value transfer.
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Old Apr 21, 20, 7:56 pm
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Is the MAX going to actually be 'fixed' by then? I'm sure that Boeing is not in any hurry or staffing the software and testing program right now, and the FAA is not in any hurry to review anything.

Doesn't how much software you throw at the MAX... you can't fix inherent aerodynamic instability with magic code.
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Old Apr 21, 20, 7:56 pm
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Originally Posted by smartytravel View Post
Would they have some policy for last minute swaps?

One of the main reasons why Iím loyal to Delta and its partners is because they donít fly the 737 max coffin.

I will always refuse to fly that plane. What recourse can passengers have if they intentionally buy a more expensive ticket NOT to fly MAX, but then Delta swaps it?

Getting Max would be a huge mistake for Delta. I hope itís not going to materialize.
The contract of carriage doesn't provide any recourse for aircraft swaps. By the time Delta would take possession of these, the safety issues will be fully resolved, and they will almost certainly take a position that they are equivalent to anything else in the fleet.

That said, standard schedule change rules apply, and you'll probably be able to talk an agent into changing for you if you end up booked on one involuntarily. I've successfully argued my way off of 767-300 business class seats or MD-90 operated flights back onto a better airplane before, and this situation is probably pretty similar.
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Old Apr 21, 20, 7:59 pm
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It kinda makes sense. Get rid of leases while picking up new jets a few years down the road. Seeing as the MAX 10 doesn't have MCAS, the swap could also be for just that variant. VA stated this was the reason they increased their order for that particular model.
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