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Delta confirms A350, A330 order

Delta Air Lines has confirmed an order for 25 Airbus A350-900s for delivery beginning in 2017 and 25 A330-900neo aircraft that will start entering the fleet in 2019.

Both types powered by Rolls-Royce Trent engines will replace the Boeing 747 and 767.

Delta selected the Airbus widebodies over a rival bid from Boeing based on the 787-9.

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“The A350 and A330neo support our long-haul, transoceanic strategy and join a mix of Boeing and Airbus aircraft,” says Nat Pieper, Delta’s vice-president of fleet strategy and transactions.

Delta will deploy the Trent XWB-powered A350-900s mostly on long-range routes to Asia from the USA. The Trent 7000-powered A330s, meanwhile, will operate medium-haul, transatlantic routes and some routes to Asia from the US west coast.

Delta expects the A350-900 to reduce operating cost per seat by 20% compared to the 747-400. The A330-900 should be 20% more efficient on a per-seat basis than the 767-300ER, the carrier says.

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Airbus chief operating officer John Leahy calls Delta’s decision a “massive endorsement” of the airframe’s widebody portfolio.

“Airbus is unique in offering an optimised long-range choice in aircraft that will allow Delta to continue to modernise its fleet and customise its use with the most efficient and comfortable aircraft available,” Leahy says in a statement.

The announcement adds to a fleet renewal that Delta launched in 2011 with orders for the 737-900ER, Bombardier CRJ-900, Airbus A321, Airbus A330 and used Boeing 717s.

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