What Are Delta Air Lines’ Least Used Aircraft?

The A330-200 is Delta’s least-used aircraft this year, although it is closely followed by the A220-300, A330-900, Embraer 170, and A350-900. It has some 11 A330-200s, with nine active and another due to resume service shortly. With 46 routes this year, we check out its A330-200s.

Delta Air Lines Airbus A330-223 N856NW (4)
Delta has nine active A330-200s. Photo: Vincenzo Pace | Simple Flying.

Delta’s A330-200s

Delta has 11 Airbus A330-200s in its fleet, ch-aviation.com indicates, of which nine are currently active. With an average age of 16.5 years, all were inherited from Northwest. They each have the same capacity – 234 seats – in a three-class configuration:

  • 168 in main cabin (2-4-2 layout)
  • 32 in Delta Comfort+ (2-4-2)
  • 34 in Delta One (1-2-1)

However, Delta is retrofitting the aircraft with a fourth cabin (Premium Selection or premium economy), expected to be completed by mid-2022. There will also be other enhancements, although it won’t improve business class, which will therefore remain inferior to its A330-900s and flagship A350-900s.

Northwest A330-200
All of Delta’s A330-200s were inherited from Northwest. Photo: Kentaro Iemoto via Flickr.

The A330-200 is Delta’s least-used aircraft

Analysis of schedules provided by Delta to OAG indicates that the A330-200 has 1.20 million seats available for sale this year. This is less than any other type, whether narrowbody, widebody, or regional. This partly reflects lower use of smaller widebodies in the past year or so, perhaps because of less cargo capacity.

However, the A220-300 comes exceptionally close in use with approximately 39,000 more seats than the Airbus widebody. Despite Delta having fewer A220-300s (nine) than A330-200s (11), this is obviously offset by the A220 variant having nearly 90% more flights from lots of short flights.

Delta's top-10 A330-200 routes in 2021
These are Delta’s top-10 routes by the A330-200 in 2021. Atlanta to Lagos is the long-haul route with the most seats for sale. It began in 2007 and has used the B777-200ER/LR, B767-300ER, A330-300, and A330-200. Image: GCMap.

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No widebody makes Delta’s top-10 aircraft list

In a previous analysis, we found that no widebody makes it into Delta’s top-10 most-used aircraft list this year, with the closest being the A330-300 in 12th place and the B767-300ER in 14th.

However, relatively little separates the A330-200 from other, newer widebodies: the A330-900, of which it has 11 with another 27 on order, has 1.42 million seats, not far behind the A350-900 (1.68 million).

DL1763 San Juan to Atlanta
At the time of writing, three of Delta’s nine active A330-200s are in the air. This includes N858NW, which is today expected to fly San Juan-Atlanta-San Juan-Atlanta. Image: RadarBox.com.

The return of N853NW

According to ch-aviation.com, N853NW is presently stored while N857NW is undergoing maintenance. However, 853, a 17.2-year-old delivered to Northwest in September 2004, is expected to resume flying from September 11th, based on Flightradar24 information.

Its scheduled flying that day should see it depart Atlanta at 08:20, arrive Salt Lake City at 10:17 local, leave at 11:55 to Honolulu, and arrive at 14:27. After six-plus hours in Hawaii, it will depart Honolulu at 20:40 bound for the airline’s Utah hub.

Delta A330-200
N853NW is scheduled to return to service on September 11th. Photo: Aldo Bidini via Wikimedia.

Some 46 routes see the A330-200 year

The A330-200 is used on some 46 routes this year, OAG shows, including one-offs and infrequent services. However, the top five routes alone, shown below, have nearly half of the equipment’s seats this year, very much led by hub-to-hub Atlanta to Salt Lake. This airport-pair had up to three outbound flights earlier in the year, although it varies between one and two until the New Year.

  1. Atlanta-Salt Lake City: 236,808 round-trip seats
  2. Atlanta-San Juan: 112,554
  3. Atlanta-Lagos: 98,046
  4. Salt Lake City-Honolulu: 54,288
  5. Salt Lake City-Amsterdam: 54,288

What are your memories of Delta’s lower-capacity A330? Let us know in the comments.

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