Delta Air Lines is awaiting delivery of their first Airbus A330-900 aircraft. News out of France indicates that the first delivery is impending, as their first A330neo will conduct initial flight testing in the coming days. It will then only be a matter of days before the aircraft will be handed over to Delta.
Delta Air Lines has 35 A330-900 aircraft on order. Some of these aircraft will replace aging 767-300ER aircraft, while others will be used for expansion of Delta’s long-haul network. The first A330-900 aircraft will be based out of Seattle, with initial routes planned to include Tokyo, Shanghai, and Seoul.
Currently, Delta flies the A350-900 to Tokyo and 767-300ERs to Seoul and Shanghai. While introducing the A330-900 on the Seattle-Tokyo route will represent a small loss in capacity, Seoul and Shanghai will benefit from increased capacity. Seoul and Shanghai are home to Delta Air Lines’ partners Korean Air and China Eastern, respectively.
Delta and Airbus
Delta Air Lines wasn’t always a major Airbus customer. In fact, in the years prior to merging with Northwest Airlines, Delta didn’t operate any Airbus aircraft at all. However, a majority of Northwest Airlines’ fleet was Airbus and, after the merger, Delta Air Lines found a new love for Airbus aircraft.
— Aviation Toulouse (@Frenchpainter) April 14, 2019
Delta selected A321ceo and A321neo aircraft over Boeing’s 737 MAX series. In hindsight, this decision probably served Delta Air Lines well as is has meant that they haven’t had to deal with fallout from the MAX groundings. Delta Air Lines also canceled Northwest Airlines’ order for 787 aircraft, instead choosing the A330neo and A350 to expand their long-haul fleet. Aside from a handful of 737-900 aircraft, almost all of Delta’s 250+ strong order book is comprised of Airbus aircraft. This includes the newest member of the Airbus family: the A220.
Delta Air Lines was the North American launch customer for the A330neo in a major snub to Boeing. The Airbus-Boeing feud will come to Boeing’s home turf when Delta’s first A330neo aircraft arrive and are based out of Seattle.
For now, we await the North American launch of this new aircraft. After these last few tests, the A330neo will be ready for delivery. These tests are routine for aircraft delivery, even with the A330neo already in service with TAP Portugal.
Here at Simple Flying, we look forward to seeing this aircraft in flight. Would you fly Delta’s A330neo? Let us know in the comments below!