What Are The Oldest Planes In Delta Air Lines’ Fleet?

Delta Air Lines operates some of the oldest aircraft flying amongst US carriers. However, recently, the airline has moved forward with plans to retire older aircraft. Just last month, the airline withdrew its aging MD-80s and MD-90s. However, the airline still maintains some older aircraft– especially Boeing 757s and 767s. Simple Flying takes a look.

Delta planes getty
What are the oldest planes in Delta’s fleet? Photo: Getty Images

The oldest 757s are special

According to data from Planespotters, Delta’s oldest planes are six Boeing 757-200s:

  • N649DL
  • N650DL
  • N651DL
  • N652DL
  • N654DL
  • N655DL

All of these planes are around 30-31 years of age– rather high for an aircraft. However, these planes are ‘lightly used’. Delta has configured these jets in a 72-seat premium configuration that are used explicitly for charter operations.

Pictured here is one of Delta’s oldest aircraft, N649DL. Photo: James Willamor via Flickr

What about the planes flying passengers?

Next up, Delta does have five 30-year-old Boeing 767s that are among the oldest 767s in service. A sixth 767 flies for Delta that is also 30 years old, however, the carrier took that aircraft second-hand from Gulf Air in 1997. These six 767s are:

  • N171DN
  • N172DN
  • N174DN
  • N175DN
  • N176DN
  • N152DL
N172DN was delivered to Delta in 1990. Photo: Aero Icarus via Flickr

The 767s are one of Delta’s most heavily-used aircraft. These planes fly transcontinental flights between Los Angeles and New York, transatlantic flights to cities like Dakar, Paris, and Frankfurt, as well as South American flights to Buenos Aires, Lima, Bogota, and more. You can also find them flying between Delta’s big hubs such as Atlanta and Salt Lake City or, sometimes, Atlanta and New York and Seattle.

Closer to home, there are other 757s that also fly passengers in regular commercial service. This includes N659DL, N660DL, and N667 DN that are all about 30 years old. Like the 767s, these are some of the oldest 757s flying passengers in the world.

Pictured here is N660DL, which flies regular commercial service. Photo: Tomas Del Coro via Flickr

Delta’s 757s are well-used. These planes fly much of the airline’s high-demand short-haul routes to cities in Florida like Orlando, Latin American routes like Mexico City, Montego Bay, and Quito. Some of the aircraft are also configured with a Delta One cabin that has lie-flat seating. Those planes can be found mainly on some transcontinental flights such as between Seattle and New York or New York and San Francisco.

There are also some Airbus planes in Delta’s fleet that were inherited from Northwest Airlines. Five A320s are 29-years-old. These include N309US, N312US, N317US, N319US, and N320US, and are some of the oldest A320s in the world.

N319US at the gate in Las Vegas. Photo: Tomas Del Coro via Flickr

The A320s are another one of Delta’s short-haul workhorses. These fly to cities like Boise, Portland, San Diego, Minneapolis, Dallas, Los Angeles, and more.

What is the future of these aircraft?

Delta does have a penchant for flying older aircraft– especially ones that the airline owns. Plus, with low fuel prices, the less fuel-efficient aircraft are not terribly expensive to operate if Delta is filling the planes up with paying passengers.

Delta planes
The current crisis has seen Delta park a significant number of aircraft, with some headed towards retirement. Photo: Getty Images

However, the current crisis has led Delta to reconsider its aircraft plans. The carrier anticipates becoming smaller as a result of the downturn in travel. Some older aircraft may be heading out if Delta decides that it would rather take on more fuel-efficient newer planes that require less maintenance. Exactly how many planes the airline retires, however, remains to be seen. Although, some of the jets currently in storage may not be reactivated by the carrier. Already, the MD-88s and MD-90s have been sent off into retirement.

What is the oldest Delta aircraft that you’ve flown on? Let us know in the comments!