Delta Air Lines finds the proposed Boeing New Mid-market Airplane (NMA) "interesting", after reports that it hopes to launch the new aircraft.
"Based on what we've heard initially from Boeing about the NMA programme, Delta finds it to be an interesting concept and could be a long-term replacement for some 757s and 767s," the Atlanta-based carrier says in response to a Bloomberg report that Delta chief executive Ed Bastian hopes the airline could launch the programme.
Delta is "actively engaged" with Boeing on the programme, the airline adds.
The airframer is developing the business case for the 200-270 passenger aircraft to seek approval from the Boeing board, Boeing Commercial Airplanes marketing vice-president Randy Tinseth said earlier in February.
The proposed aircraft would have a range of roughly 5,000nm and offer a roughly 30% cost reduction compared to the Boeing 757 with an entry-into-service in 2024 or 2025.
Delta operates 111 757-200s, 16 757-300s, 59 Boeing 767-300ERs and 21 767-400ERs with average ages ranging from 15 years for the 757-300s to more than 22 years for the 757-200s and 767-300ERs, Flight Fleets Analyzer shows.
The carrier has replaced a number of domestic 757s with Airbus A321s and Boeing 737-900ERs in recent years. However, neither of the newer aircraft models can operate longer missions across the Atlantic or to South America.
Delta has eschewed Boeing aircraft for Airbus and Bombardier models in recent years. Despite considering both the 737 Max and 787, the airline committed to buy up to 200 A321neos in December 2017, and 50 Airbus A330-900neos and Airbus A350-900s in November 2014.
In addition, the airline ordered 75 Bombardier CS100s in April 2016.
Delta executives have said that they have no preference for either Airbus or Boeing, adding that they consider types from both manufacturers equally prior to placing an order.