Only Airbus Orders Are Left For Delta Air Lines Now

Delta Air Lines has reached a new milestone. The last Boeing 737-900ER Delta had on order has been delivered. For the foreseeable future, every aircraft on order is an Airbus aircraft. This is a huge development since Delta used to be a major Boeing customer. However, it is likely that Delta will take delivery of new Boeing aircraft in the next decade.

Delta 737-900er
Delta has taken delivery of its last 737-900ER on order. Photo: Delta

Boeing 737-900ERs

Delta ordered 737-900ERs as part of a fleet renewal plan. These aircraft were to replace aging members of the fleet, including some MD-80/90s, as well as to add capacity on several routes. As modern aircraft, these planes were popular with passengers. Every seat has access to seatback entertainment as well as power.

Delta power
Every seat on Delta’s 737-900ERs has power access. Photo: Delta

Onboard, Delta has 20 seats in First Class, 21 Delta Comfort+, and 139 seats in economy class. This is a grand total of 180 seats.

Delta and Airbus

After merging with Northwest Airlines, Delta soon began to take interest in Airbus aircraft. This included ordering the A330-900neo and A350-900 while canceling an order for 787s inherited through the merger. In a big blow to Boeing, Delta chose to go with additional A321neos over the 737 MAXa decision that is now working well for them.

Delta A321
Delta has taken a fancy to A321 aircraft since merging with Northwest. Photo: Delta

Recently, Delta has also fallen in love with the A220. The A220 is the newest narrowbody aircraft in Delta’s fleet. Delta is using the A220s to improve their offerings on several routes currently served by Delta Connection. Boeing took issue with this order when the aircraft was known as the Bombardier CSeries, however, Delta won the day and has even expanded their A220 order.

50 years of Airbus - a reflection
Delta has a large A220 order book. Photo: Delta News Hub via Flickr

Boeing has tried to make the 737 MAX appealing to Delta. Unfortunately for Boeing, Delta never had an interest in ordering the 737 MAX. Thus, the 737-900ER will be the last new Boeing delivery, for now.

The last Boeing delivery

Airways Magazine reports that Delta has taken delivery of their last 737-900ER on order. From this point on, Delta only has Airbus aircraft on order.

This is likely going to be Delta’s last new delivery from Boeing for several years. From the mid-2020s, should the timeline work for Boeing, Delta will likely be one of the first airlines to take the new 797. Unsurprisingly, Delta has taken a huge interest in the 797 as a 757 and 767 replacement. Should Boeing launch the aircraft, Delta will be highly likely to order it, with entry into service in the mid-2020s.

For now, this represents an end to an era. Delta previously preferred Boeing for aircraft orders. Now, it looks like Airbus is getting a load of love from Delta.

What do you make of this last Boeing delivery? Should Delta order more Airbus or Boeing aircraft? Let us know in the comments!

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Richard Johnson Jr

I have flown Delta’s 737-900 many times out of Atlanta it is a good short haul plane. As of right now Delta has 261 more airbus orders the a220,321,321neo,330neo, and the 350-900. I think Delta would order over 100 797’s if boeing launches this plane by the mid 2020’s and maybe a slim chance of the new 777’s or 787-10’s to replace the 777-200’s that are starting to age. Starting in October Delta will replace the 757-200 to the 767-300er on the Atlanta to Bogota route good news for me.

William

Not sure how many A320 Delta have on backorder but many could easily be converted to A321XLR so Delta probably has time to weigh up an NMA order. The NMA will probably be built but I suspect an entry into service 2026/2027 which I think will be determined by the engine makers getting their geared turbofans into service.. I suspect the NMA will be 50% bigger than an A321/B737-10 but 2/3rd of a B786/A330 so about 150 tons. Boeing have suggested a range of 5000NM for the long range version but I think they’ll easily get to 6000NM. One quarter… Read more »

John West

It seems there is a mistake where it says “in a big blow to Airbus”. Considering they purchased A321neos and not 737 MAXes, it appears to be a big blow to Boeing!

Joanna Bailey

Thanks that’s been corrected

Terry. Stonitsch

Boeing has screwed up big time first with the c series getting away from them and than with the 737 mishap. Very bad decision making.

Matt

It’s too bad that they even made this order. I fly these 900ERs pretty regularly and would have been way happier if they were A320s. The narrow fuselage with it’s extreme curve limits comfort way too much. Hopefully the 737’s future successor is way more comfortable.

William

I’ve had many long miserable flights on B737. Sydney to Melbourne, Moscow to Yakutsk, Kuala Lumpur to Penang. In each case I was miserable because I had to hunch my shoulders to avoid touching the shoulder of the passenger next to me. Even if I get a skinny girl next to me it’s embarrassing. I’ve never had that issue on Any A320 or A380. I’m not obese, just a 6ft Guy. As far as I can see there is 15mm-25mm more space between passengers shoulders on A320. I’m one of the people to whom it’s noticeable. A small seat pitch… Read more »

kilonzo

If they would still wish to continue with their ultra longhaul routes eg JNB..They will go back for the 777-8..

Amber

Except the A350 can do that.

Nigel

Well, there are carriers in Europe that are heavily pro-Boeing (e.g. KLM), so why not have a US carrier that is heavily pro-Airbus? In a way, American Airlines is somewhat similar with its HUGE A321 fleet…although they made the mistake of also ordering MAXs. What I find fascinating here is that Delta apparently have no problem with the risk of becoming “captive” to Airbus, whereas Mr. Walsh (IAG) apparently IS afraid of becoming such a captive. Please correct me if I’m wrong but I seem to remember that Delta’s flirt with Airbus began when the old Delta acquired Northwest airlines,… Read more »

Robert Gaurie

You are correct… Delta had a large fleet of McDonell Douglas and Lockheed aircraft up until recently.

Matt

They had 5 747-100s from 1970-77

John S

Actually Delta DID order the 747—way back in the early ‘70s (5 in fact) to use on their highest density routes until the L1011 was ready. When the 1011 was further delayed because of problems with the Engine manufacturer (Rolls Royce) they even leased DC-10’s as a stopgap measure. For a short period during the mid-70’s DL operated all three US wide bodies.

Sam S

Don’t forget Delta starting operating 747s a second time when they merged with Northwest. However, they soon afterward eliminated them with the addition of more 777s on the Asia routes that Northwest flew them on. That was in the 1990s I think and the last 747 flight for Delta was recent as it was in 2017.

ChuckMO

“Delta has taken a fancy to A321 aircraft since merging with Airbus.” I think you mean Northwest.

Joanna Bailey

Thanks for spotting that, updated now

DB

Considering how much Big Bully Boeing has been a huge pain in the rear for both Delta and Bombardier over the C-series resulting in years of delay for getting the aircraft, and in the end, with Bombardier all but gifting the series to Airbus and rebranding the series as A220. If I were Delta, I’d stay cozy with Airbus just to stick it to Boeing. Delta passing on MAX has already proven to be wise.

Mountain Jim

Annoying the world’s (currently) highest revenue airline can’t be a great strategy for an aircraft manufacturer. Obviously depending on a single manufacturer is a risk for an airline (as 737-heavy airlines have found), but limiting types has also been a good strategy for lowering costs, surely as useful to full service airlines as LCCs. Delta may benefit from buying from Airbus not Boeing for a decade, especially if Max turns out to have longer term image problems with the flying public.

FF Flyer John

The 737-900 is the most uncomfortable airplane ever, I only fly first class and avoid this plane like the plague. Delta has terrible leadership and is only interested and how many bodies they can put in a tin can, shame on Delta.

Christopher Bryant

Personality I wish Airbus would make a longer version of their A220-300 for long haul flights. Its a beautifully designed plane, state of the art

Andy

Delta will probably go with a rewinged A321/A322 because it will be ready by the mid 2020s, and will be compatible with existing A320s for pilots. Boeing will be lucky to deliver a 797 in quantity by 2030 given their recent track record, if a 797 is even launched. An A220-500 will be an incredible replacement for the last MD80s and A320CEOs, both in efficiency and passenger comfort. Delta can sit back and watch American and especially Southwest suffer with all the disadvantages of the 737 MAX.