Delta Air Lines said it is considering buying up to 50 widebody jetliners to replace its aging long-haul aircraft (Boeing 747-400s and some 767-300ERs).
The airline confirmed last week that it has requested sales offers from Boeing and Airbus for the jets. The two plane makers have benefited from a wave of replacement demand from U.S. carriers who have moved to renew their fleets with more fuel-efficient models.
The Boeing and aircraft that Delta is evaluating seat between 250 and 380 passengers. A Delta spokesman said it expects to decide on a potential order -worth well over $10 billion at list prices- in the second half of 2014.
Delta, the third biggest U.S. airline by traffic, is evaluating the Airbus A350-900, A350-1000, A330-200 and A330-300, as well as the current-generation Boeing 777-300ER and all models of the 787.
The airline is "only interested in proven technology aircraft," said a spokesman, ruling out Boeing's recently-launched 777X (which is due in 2020) and probably the A330neo –if not launched in few months- as Delta spokesman said it is only considering "what is out there currently," not models yet to be launched. Nothing new; Delta is widely seen as one of the most conservative buyers of new capacity, they eschew new technology, preferring “proven” technology buying aircraft toward the end of their production cycle when prices are lower.
Interest from Delta could be decisive for the A330neo decision.
Delta currently has 18 of the 787s on order with Boeing, which Northwest Airlines ordered prior to the carriers' 2008 merger.