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Delta prepares for full narrowbody analysis in early 2011

Delta Air Lines is preparing to start discussions early next year with manufacturers about replacing its aging narrowbodies.

Speaking during the carrier's annual investor day Delta president Ed Bastian said: "We clearly need to get the DC9s retired. We clearly need to start to build a replenishment strategy for our older MD88s and some of our Airbus narrowbodies as well as the [Boeing] 757s."

Flightglobal's ACAS database shows that Delta currently operates 40 DC9s, 117 MD88s, 179 757s and 126 Airbus A320 family aircraft.

"We'll have more data as we talk to the manufacturers," says Bastian. "We've not been in a position the last couple of years because when you put two airlines together you really pop out so much capacity that you want to make sure it is fully allocated and fully productive." Delta and Northwest merged in 2008, and attained a single operating certificate from the FAA in December 2009.

Bastain explains now Delta is "at the point of the cycle where we think we should have those conversations", with airframers.

Delta's president also states the carrier is "open to different economic financial models" in acquiring new aircraft, and would consider both direct ownership and leasing.

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