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Delta reviewing widebody fleet needs

Delta Air Lines is reviewing its widebody fleet needs, in the face of what it sees as overcapacity in international markets globally.

"We continue to see excess capacity in widebodies as we look to the future for the industry as a whole," says Ed Bastian, chairman and chief executive of the Atlanta-based carrier, during a first quarter earnings call today. He adds that they are looking "internally" at the implications to Delta.

This excess capacity could result in some widebody fleet reductions industrywide over the short- to medium-term, he says.

Delta operates 149 widebody aircraft, the Flight Fleets Analyzer shows. It is scheduled to take delivery of one Airbus A330-300 and its first six Airbus A350-900s this year.

The airline plans to remove its six remaining Boeing 747-400s as well as three Boeing 767s in 2017, executives say.

The outgoing 767s are among Delta's "oldest" and will be replaced by larger and more efficient A330s, says the carrier's president Glen Hauenstein today.

Delta operates nine 767-300ERs delivered in 1990, the oldest in service 767s in its fleet, Fleets Analyzer shows.

Bastian's comments are not the airline's first on widebody values. Former Delta chief executive Richard Anderson made waves in 2015 when he said there was a bubble and that prices for used widebodies, including certain Airbus A330 and Boeing 777 variants, would fall.

"We do think the aircraft market is going to be ripe for Delta over the next 12 to 18 months,” said Anderson in October 2015.

While his comments were contested by many in the industry, Delta bought a used 777-200 from Malaysia Airlines for $7.7 million, which it claimed as a little more than $2 million less than initial offers, in December 2015.

Delta will comment on how its widebody overcapacity views impact its own orderbook and fleet only if and when a decision is made, says Bastian in response to questions.

The carrier has firm orders for one A330-300, 25 A330-900neos and 25 A350-900s, Fleets Analyzer shows.

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