“The million things I’ve wanted to write about, but haven’t had time.”

That was really the best title for this post, because frankly, it really captures the fact that there are a ton of non-787 first flight things going on and I wanted to at least mention them.

Boeing Leaving Puget Sound?
Scott Hamilton of Leeham Co. says, “Yes.” His presentation to the Snohomish County Economic Development Council should make everyone sit up and take note, especially political leaders in Olympia, Hamilton contends. The reality is, Boeing has been leaving in pieces over the years with the corporate relocation to Chicago and 787 business model. A decision within a year about the 787 production rate will likely dictate the necessity for a second production line, which Hamilton believes will be outside of Washington State. Many signs point to this conclusion.

American’s new 737s
Consider this the reverse canary in a coal mine, American Airlines took delivery of several of its 76 new 737-800s (N979AN being the 1st). The airline already has 77 737-800s in its fleet all based out of DFW. The new -800s will all be based at ORD and will have a 1% fuel burn advantage over their earlier counterparts and 20% better than the MD-80s they’ll replace. The interior of the newer 737s are also outfitted with new fixed backshell seats, largeroverhead storage bins and electrical plug-in ports in every row and a HUD standard at the business end of the venerable narrowbody.

So why is this a big deal? Well, if financing is the lifeblood of aircraft deliveries, then the fact that a US airline has already secured financing for most of its new deliveries bodes well for other airlines that have a demand for new aircraft and just need financing. Though, unfortunately there’s not much that can be done for airlines that have no need for aircraft and just opt for a deferred delivery.

Deferrals, Deferrals, Deferrals
Now consider this the actual canary in a coalmine. Three of the world’s top 25 airlines (by revenue) made majorannouncements last week deferring major aircraft deliveries. By the numbers: QANTAS – 12 737s, 4 A380s possibly 15 787s. China Southern – 777Fs, 787s and A380s. Cathay Pacific – A330-300s, 777-300ERs, 747-8Fs.

These are all on top of other airlines initiating further deferrals announced this year so far: Air France – 2 A380s, 6 777-300ER and 777Fs. Interjet – 4 A320s. Bangkok Airways – 2 A319s, 1 ATR-72-500. Volaris – 3 A319s. FedEx – 777Fs. Aeromar – 1 ATR-72-500. Kingfisher – 2 A380s. Thai Airways - A380s. Mesa – 10 CRJ700s.

To top it off many airlines are pondering deferrals, but have yet to decide: Singapore Airlines – A380s. Aerologic – 777F. V Australia – 777-300ER.

Everything But The New Design

No 787, no A350, no 737RS, no A30X and no CSeries. The demand is certainly there for these products. However, Airlines, waiting for their aircraft on order or are delaying big purchases, along with Boeing and Airbus, are squeezing every last bit of efficiency out of existing designs before taking out a clean sheet of paper to design a new aircraft. 767-300ERs are getting winglets, bringing their range up 200 miles. A330s are pushing to 7200 nm. 737s and A320 are expected to get a whole host of enhancements. Qatar is ripping out lounges for A340-600 efficiency and RNP capabilities are popping up everywhere. Smart business decisions, yes, but is there an acceleration due to the recession? Let’s call it an open question.

What plane is this?
I’m out on my balcony Saturday evening and I see this Delta aircraft fly from east to west over Washington, DC around 6:30 PM. Seeing clear skies above, I grabbed my camera to see if I could figure it out. Well, I’m baffled. First glance says its a 737-800 with winglets, though a closer inspection looks like a 767-300ER with winglets. I thought the only wingletted 767 Delta had was in the old colors? Help me get to the bottom of this!


13 Responses to “The million things I’ve wanted to write about, but haven’t had time.”

  1. Matthew April 23, 2009 at 12:36 am #

    mm good guess.. almost looks like delta’s A330-300 with winglets..course the back almost looks like a delta 777. But I agree it looks like a 767 with the new pain job..guess the only way to find out is if you see it again get on flightaware and find out whats flying over your head :) (sorry my post didn’t help.. but looks closer to a 767/777 than a 737 to me.)

  2. annon April 23, 2009 at 12:45 am #

    It’s an A330 painted in Delta colors.

  3. Gabriel L April 23, 2009 at 2:20 am #

    Yeah, I’d have to agree that this is an A330. Definitely has that 767 shape to it at first gllance, but the Airbus is the logical conclusion so I’m guessing that’s an illusion. And I’d say it’s most definitely not a 738.

  4. Niyoko April 23, 2009 at 2:57 am #

    I’m trying to find this one. I’ve started with seeing this blog post that does show that DAL does have 767-300ERs with winglets in new colors: http://blog.delta.com/2009/03/24/mod-blog-767er-winglets/

    I’m looking at flightaware.com at the recorded 763s in their DB.

  5. Niyoko April 23, 2009 at 3:24 am #

    Hmm, I looked up at flightaware.com and did not find and B763 flights that might match this picture. I also looked for A332s and no DAL flights on their database at the moment.

    It looks like it might be coming from Europe perhaps. I also think that it’s probably flying IFR due to the altitude. I’m guessing the altitude is around or above FL300, because of the contrails(This is just a big guess.)

    That is all the clues I can add towards solving the mystery, haha.

  6. Liz M April 23, 2009 at 3:26 am #

    You should have used the iPhone app called “Flight Tracker”, it can tell you what flights are within a given radius of your location ;)

  7. Arjan April 23, 2009 at 4:14 am #


    A Delta Airlines 767 in new colors with winglets

  8. Paul April 23, 2009 at 6:14 am #

    Time would suggest the route to be CDG-ATL (Delta 51), though this is normally operated by a 767.

  9. 7K7 April 23, 2009 at 7:43 am #

    Small tail fin, up-turned rear end points to it being an A330 or one of the longer 737s

  10. Mats47 April 23, 2009 at 9:35 am #

    It is a Delta a330. You can see the small blue winglet on the far side of the aircraft. It is too long to be a 767-300 and no 767-400 are painted in the new scheme or have winglets.

  11. Guru Josh April 23, 2009 at 1:49 pm #

    Boeing is leaving Seattle? Yawn…

  12. Mark April 23, 2009 at 2:50 pm #

    The profile suggests it is a 767. It could be a Northwest Airlines painted A330 headed for Minneapolis.

  13. MKM May 24, 2009 at 5:43 am #

    I don’t think its a 737-800, as the nose here is a bit more chubby. Also looking at a 737-800 with winglets at the projection probably would have made these same winglets closer to to the tail, than a 767.

    Rule out 737-800.

    Not sure that it is a northwest A330, as I’m also not sure if the colour scheme is exactly the same as the parent Delta Airlines.

    Just guessing.