Delta seeks up to 50 widebody aircraft

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Delta Air Lines has released a request for proposals for up to 50 widebody aircraft to Airbus and Boeing.

The Atlanta-based carrier will evaluate the Airbus A330-200 and -300, Airbus A350-900 and -1000, Boeing 777-300ER and Boeing 787-8, -9 and -10 to replace some or all of its Boeing 747-400s and Boeing 767-300ERs, according to an employee newsletter on 1 April.

Delta operates 16 747-400s and 74 767-300s, Flightglobal’s Ascend Online database shows. With an average age of 21 years and 20 years, respectively, the types are among the oldest in its widebody fleet.

“This widebody aircraft initiative continues Delta's disciplined approach to fleet renewal, as we evaluate new aircraft to replace a portion of our widebody fleet," says Nat Pieper, vice-president of fleet Strategy and transactions at Delta, in the newsletter. “The aircraft under consideration will enable Delta to optimise capacity with market demand by matching the right aircraft with the right market.”

Delta is also understood to be considering a potential re-engined A330-300 if Airbus decides to go forward with the programme, various analysts have said.

The carrier anticipates making a decision and placing an order in the second half of 2014.