Delta Air Lines has ordered 10 additional Airbus A330-900s to meet its "near-to-medium term widebody needs", while deferring a comparable number of A350-900 aircraft.

The Atlanta-based carrier has firm orders for 35 A330-900s with the first due next year, it says today. The A330neos are powered by Rolls-Royce Trent 7000 engines.

“The A330-900 is going to be an important addition to Delta’s fleet,” says Ed Bastian, chief executive of Delta. “Airbus has infused this next generation of the successful A330 family with new technology and features providing advanced levels of comfort for our passengers and significant operating cost reductions."

The airline will use the additional A330s to meet its "near-to-medium term widebody needs", including replacing aging Boeing 767-300ERs as they reach the end of their lives, it says.

The deal is valued at $2.96 billion at list prices, according to Airbus' website.

Delta has also deferred 10 A350-900s to the 2025-26 timeframe from 2021-24, it says. It holds the right to convert the aircraft to A330-900s.

Delta is the only US carrier with orders for the A330neo, an aircraft Airbus is marketing as a replacement for aging 767 fleets. American Airlines, after evaluating both the A330 and A350, opted for 22 Boeing 787-8s to replace its 767s, while United Airlines continues to look at options for its 767 fleet.

Boeing is developing the New Mid-market Airplane (NMA) that it says can replace both long-haul 757s as well as 767s. However, the first delivery is more than half-a-decade off in 2025.

Delta, which operates 79 767s, has discussed the possibility of launching the NMA with Chicago-based Boeing, its chief executive Ed Bastian said in June. Neither the airline nor manufacturer have provided updates on a launch order since.

The 35 A330-900s that the carrier has on order will complement its fleet of 11 A330-200s and 31 A330-300s, Flight Fleets Analyzer shows. It will operate 15 A350-900s by 2020.

Delta's 2019 delivery date for the A330-900s comes a day after Azul head of aircraft programmes Priscilla Branco raised questions over when the Brazilian carrier will receive its first of the type, whose flight test and certification programme is roughly a year behind schedule.

Earlier in November, Airbus executives said the US carrier would receive its first A330-900 in April 2019.

The story has been corrected from an initial report that Delta had converted the 10 deferred A350s to A330s.

Source: Cirium Dashboard