Where Are Delta’s Boeing 777s Flying Before Retirement?

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Delta’s last flight using a Boeing 777 is coming up as the carrier plans to retire all of the types by October. With about a month-or-so left of these venerable jets with Delta Air Lines, the planes that are still in service are operating a plethora of long-haul cargo-only routes, designed to help keep the global supply chain connected. Here’s where Delta is flying its Boeing 777s.

Delta 777
Delta Air Lines stated at the end of the second quarter that it was aiming to retire all of its 777s by October 2020. Photo: Getty Images

How many 777s does Delta still have?

At its peak, Delta operated 18 Boeing 777s, including 10 of the 777-200LRs and eight 777-200ERs. The -200LRs performed some of Delta’s longest international long-haul routes, including down to Johannesburg in South Africa, Mumbai in India, Sydney in Australia, and Shanghai from Atlanta. Most of those routes will be replaced with the Airbus A350. The -200ERs performed other long-haul services out to East Asia and Europe, depending on the season.

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At the end of June, Delta Air Lines recorded 12 Boeing 777s in its fleet split evenly between six of the -200ERs and six of the -200LRs. Data from Flightradar24.com shows that there are six -200ERs actively flying and only five of the -200LRs. Delta very recently completed a $100 million retrofit of the 777-200s which, unfortunately, is lost money at this point.

777 Delta One Suites
Delta’s 777s recently underwent a major retrofit to include the airline’s latest business class product: the Delta One Suites. Photo: Delta Air Lines

Where are the 777-200ERs flying?

The 777-200ERs have less range than the -200LRs, meaning they are operating more of the airline’s traditional long-haul routes. One of the most common 777 routes these days is between Chicago and Frankfurt, sometimes with a stop in Detroit, carrying cargo. Back in May, a 777 flying from Frankfurt to Chicago diverted to Moncton in Canada after a pilot was incapacitated. Out of Los Angeles, the -200ERs can be regularly found flying to Tokyo-Haneda.

Delta Shanghai
Delta had a small fleet of 777-200ERs. Photo: Getty Images

The 777-200ERs have also been performing several charters on behalf of the United States Department of Defense (DOD). Delta Air Lines has thus flown 777s to a number of different cities in the past month, including Ramstein Air Base, Dubai, Kuwait City, Baltimore, and more. Smaller destinations also include cities like Kileen in Texas and Poznan in Poland.

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What about the 777-200LRs?

The 777-200LRs have been common on plenty of Delta’s longest international routes. Nowadays, the planes are primarily flying cargo. This includes flights to Mumbai in India out of New York-JFK and Sydney in Australia out of Los Angeles. Sometimes, Delta also flies the plane nonstop between Atlanta and Mumbai.

Delta 777-200LR
The 777-200LR initially enabled the airline’s growth plans to Johannesburg and later made the airline’s New York to Mumbai route possible. Photo: Delta Air Lines

The 777-200LRs are relatively young

Delta’s Boeing 777-200LRs are only about 10-12 years old. These planes could easily be transferred to another airline to conduct long-haul operations. However, there are likely not a lot of airlines looking to take on new long-haul jets at a time when international long-haul travel demand has been reduced to some of its lowest levels in history.

777-200LR Delta
The 777-200LRs, unfortunately, only served for a short period of time in Delta’s fleet. Photo: Delta Air Lines

Another option could be for the jets to be converted to a permanent cargo aircraft. With another airline, as a freighter aircraft, the planes could easily serve out many years of flying, and freight is in high demand. The official plans for these planes have not been revealed yet. One of the more unfortunate options for all of the aircraft would be to scrap them.

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Where did you fly on a Delta Boeing 777-200? What memories of the plane do you have? What do you think will come of the jets?

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