Atlanta-based Delta Air Lines has finalised a commitment for 40 Bombardier CRJ900s in a deal worth $1.85 billion at list prices as part of its regional fleet restructuring programme.

The deal includes 40 firm orders for the 76-seat CRJ900, plus 30 options, and guaranteed assistance from the airframer to help phase out the carrier's 60-strong fleet of 50-seat CRJ200s, according to the SkyTeam member. Deliveries will begin in the second half of 2013.

"The economics and customer features of the Bombardier CRJ900 made it the right aircraft to add to our Delta Connection fleet," says Ed Bastian, president of Delta. "Combined with the removal of 50-seat aircraft, this opportunity bolsters our ongoing fleet restructuring programme to remove less-efficient, smaller regional aircraft from the system."

Bombardier says if all options are firmed, the deal could be worth up to $3.29 billion at list prices.

Bombardier was competing for the Delta order against an enhanced variant of the Embraer 175.

Delta's General Electric CF34-powered CRJ900s will be configured in a three-class layout, with 12 first-class, 12 economy comfort and 52 economy seats. The aircraft will also be equipped with in-flight wi-fi.

The airline is in the process of removing 218 50-seat jets from its feeder fleet. These will be replaced with 70 aircraft with 76-seat jets and 88 Boeing 717-200s fitted with 110 seats.

Delta Connection carriers operate a total of 101 CRJ900s, according to Bombardier.

The backlog for CRJ-series aircraft stood at just 67 as of 30 September, according to the airframer's figures.

Source: Air Transport Intelligence news