Delta confirms it’s going with Airbus in big 50-jet order

Delta will go with Airbus in deal for 50 wide-body jets that would be worth more than $14 billion at list prices. The Wall Street Journal calls the order “a big victory for the European company in its battle with Boeing to sell long-range passenger aircraft.”

Delta said it will buy 25 Airbus A350-900 jets and 25 Airbus A330-900neo jets. Those aircraft would have a list price of about $14.3 billion, though big airlines receive significant discounts on such orders. The order comes after Delta announced in April that it was planning an order for wide-body long-haul jets to replace its older Boeing 747-400 and 767-300ER models.

“Delta always approaches fleet decisions with a balance of economic efficiency, customer experience enhancements, network integration and total cost of ownership,” Nat Pieper, Delta’s VP – Fleet Strategy and Transactions, says in a statement. “The A350 and A330neo support our long-haul, transoceanic strategy and join a mix of Boeing and Airbus aircraft that provide exceptional flexibility for Delta’s global network as well as strong cash-on-cash returns for our shareholders.”

Delta says the A350s will fly “primarily on long-range routes between the U.S. and Asia,” where Delta expects the aircraft will give it “a 20% improvement in operating cost per seat compared to the Boeing 747-400 aircraft they will replace.” Delta says it will take delivery of its first A350 in the second quarter of 2017.

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