Delta decides to shelve 777 fleet in bid to reduce costs

©Delta Air Lines

Delta Air Lines (Delta) has announced that it is retiring its fleet of 18 wide-body 777 jets as part of a necessary strategy to simplify and modernize its fleet of aircraft through the operation of more streamlined and cost-efficient aircraft.

As an example, the long-haul next-generation Airbus A350-900 burns 21% less fuel per seat than the 777 it is replacing. It was in December 2017 that the North American carrier announced an order for 100 Airbus A321neo jets with an option for a further 100, followed up with multiple orders for the new A220-200 and A220 -300 variants.

“We’re making strategic, cost-effective changes to our fleet to respond to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic while also ensuring Delta is well-positioned for the recovery on the backside of the crisis,” said Gil West, Delta’s Chief Operating Officer. “The 777 has been a reliable part of Delta’s success since it joined the fleet in 1999 and because of its unique operating characteristics, opened new non-stop, ultra-long-haul markets that only it could fly at that time.”

Delta has been ultra-responsive to the challenges faced by a virtual 95% global drop in demand for air travel, having already parked up to 650 mainline and regional aircraft. It has already brought forward the retirement of its McDonnell Douglas MD-88 and MD-90 fleets. Currently the Delta fleet comprised 58% Boeing jets, 34% Airbus jets and 8% McDonnell Douglas planes. The Boeing 777 first entered into service with Delta in 1999

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